Long-Time Newscaster Jess Marlow Dies at Age 84

Jess Marlow was a staple of Los Angeles television news for four decades, but his first job in California was in San Jose.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    KNTV
    Newscaster Jess Marlow in the 1960s

    Longtime television newsman Jess Marlow, described as a "first-rate journalist and a beloved figure in the newsroom," has died at age 84, according to family members.

    Marlow died during the weekend at his home in Colorado, where he moved so he could be closer to his daughter. Funeral arrangements are pending.

    Marlow, a fixture on Los Angeles television for four decades, was an anchor at KNBC and KCBS. The Illinois-native began his news career in Southern California when he was hired in 1966 at KNBC, where he anchored and hosted the public affairs program News Conference.

    Before moving to Los Angeles, Marlow worked at a television station in Rock Island, Illinois and in San Jose at then-ABC affiliate KNTV. The Emmy-winning journalist hosted a public affairs program on KCET after working with KNBC and KCBS.

    Former KNTV anchor Fred LaCosse said Marlow was “obsessed with accuracy.”

    “He would ask himself, ‘Can I possibly be misunderstood?’ He wrote as though he were telling a story to one person,” LaCosse said in an email. “In other words, he cared about his viewers, what they might learn from him, and what it would mean to their lives or their understanding of what was going on around them.”

    In a statement released Monday by Tom Brokaw, the former NBC Nightly News anchor who worked at KNBC with Marlow said: "Jess Marlow was a first-rate journalist and a beloved figure in the newsroom. He was an important part of the team that inaugurated the two-hour local news on KNBC and served as anchor of every broadcast at one time or another.

    "He also had a wicked sense of humor. After one of Evel Knievel's many crashes, Jess said, 'Evel rides fast and thinks slow.'

    "My heart goes out to his wife, Phyllis and his daughter, Susan."

    Marlow's colleagues said he cared deeply about his profession and his co-workers. In a 1992 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Marlow -- referred to in the article as "the soul of the station" -- said he had "always been one who argued for hard news and more depth."

    "He was a mentor, a friend, and a colleague who gave the word 'anchor' its true meaning," said NBC4 Orange County Bureau Chief Vikki Vargas. "I felt so privileged to be included in his circle, and yet for Jess it was never an issue of broadcasting status. He treated me as an equal. We played for the same team."

    NBC4 issued the following statement: "It is with great sadness that we report the loss of our beloved colleague, Jess Marlow. Jess, a legend in local news, started his career at NBC4 in 1966 and was an anchor on the 5 p.m. newscast. He also was the host on the station's public affairs show, News Conference. A native of Illinois, he became NBC4's first bureau chief in Orange County. He started his career in radio and during many years in broadcast news, he received countless industry awards for his work in Southern California and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jess passed away Sunday in Colorado where had moved to be close to his daughter. NBC4 sends its deepest condolences to the Marlow family and everyone who knew and worked alongside Jess. He will be deeply missed."

    Flowers will be placed at Marlow's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday afternoon.