Monday, January 7, 2019

R.I.P.: Sylvia Chase, Former Network, Bay Area Anchor

Sylvia Chase 1939-2019
Sylvia Chase, an award-winning television journalist who spent five years as a Bay Area news anchor, died Thursday in Marin County after a short illness.

She was 80, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

KRON-TV hired Chase away from ABC News’ “20/20” in 1985, a move that attracted national attention. She headed back east in 1990, but not before winning a Peabody Award for her hour-long documentary here on the plight of homeless children. She returned to the Bay Area after her retirement in the early 2000s.

Her time at KRON was during an era when news anchors were local celebrities: her starting salary was said to be $400,000 at a time when the the average home in San Francisco was valued at less than $175,000. But other journalists saw Chase as one of their own, a top-flight professional.

“She was remarkably talented and extremely generous,” recalled Tom DeVries, a retired television reporter who worked with Chase at KRON and remained friends with her in the decades that followed. “She could easily have been a bigfoot, but she wasn’t.”

She joined the staff of CBS News in New York in 1971 and moved to ABC a few years later. She received a range of broadcasting rewards and was dubbed “the most trusted woman on TV” by TV Guide. During her time at “20/20,” a survey by the magazine also pegged Chase as the top investigative reporter on any of the national newsmagazines.

All this made her shift to a local news anchor position industry news of its own — especially because Chase’s decision came just two months after ABC killed an investigative segment of hers on the links between Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy family. Chase at the time brushed aside suggestions that the two incidents were related, but later wrote that the abrupt decision by ABC was a factor in her departure.

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