5 Legendary Houston News Personalities to Help Celebrate Dave Ward's Career
It looks as if another legendary Houston news anchor may be inching toward the end of his nightly run.
Dave Ward announced last week that he will be slowing things down in his gig at Channel 13, and starting in 2015 he will only anchor the station's 6 p.m. newscasts.
"You have invited me into your hearts and into your homes, you have trusted me with the day's news, and I have trusted you to be there, and you have been, for almost 48 years," Ward said. "I am honored and humbled to still be doing the work I love, anchoring ABC-13 Eyewitness News. So let's be clear -- I'm not going anywhere! I'm just going to go home a little earlier, that's all."
It's a big change for the nightly news anchor, who has spent the past five decades as the face of Eyewitness News. He joined the station back in 1966, and has now been on the air longer than any other anchor in the nation.
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During his 48-year career, Ward has covered just about anything and everything an anchor could possibly imagine. He's interviewed the leader of the free world several times -- including the time he flew with President George H.W. Bush -- and has been around for just about every hurricane the Gulf Coast has seen in the past five decades.
So while the change will definitely make the 10 o'clock news seem slightly less colorful, we're glad Ward's not going anywhere yet. He's definitely on the list to go down as one of Houston's news legends once he does retire, though.
Here are the five legendary Houston news personalities Ward will join when that slowdown becomes a full stop at retirement, with Ward reporting only to a piña colada on a sandy beach somewhere.
5. Steve Smith If there's a Houston news anchor who retired from TV news with some serious clout, it's Steve Smith. Smith began his Houston career as an anchor on KPRC during the '60s, at the height of the evening news heyday, and spent the next two or so decades on the Houston news scene. He retired in 1999 as lead anchor at KHOU.
During that time, Smith covered everything -- and we do mean everything -- that could have possibly been important to cover. Think things like the moon landings, the Challenger disaster, the Bush presidency and all those damned hurricanes, too. He also avidly covered the local political scene, and was the only Houston anchor on the scene when the Berlin wall came down.
But what was really awesome -- really, really awesome -- was Smith's brilliant commentaries on everything from politics to the way police handled hostage scenes. His biting, smart critiques were exactly what made for a good news anchor back then, and probably even today.
4. Isiah Carey If you've somehow missed the gloriousness that is the Isiah Carey blooper reels, please do your afternoon a favor and look them up. Seriously. They're worth their weight in gold.
Isiah Carey has had a pretty solid career over the past three decades, covering news in the southeast U.S. for a number of networks. But luckily for us, he decided to settle down in Houston, and is currently a reporter at Fox 26.
While Carey has certainly not been around as long as some of the other legendary news personalities on this list, the sailor-tongued news anchor is still the most refreshing personality we've seen on any local news broadcast in a long time.
He curses at bees and inexplicably gripes at barking dogs, which -- should it come from any other stodgy anchor -- would be obnoxious were he not so damn likable. There's just something totally endearing about an anchor dropping that dramatic news voice to curse out a winged insect or snark on a passerby that just gets us every time. Isiah Carey, we hope you never change.
3. Ron Stone Legend has it that the legendary anchor Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrell's character in Anchorman, was based on a Houston news legend by the name of Ron Stone.
Nah, not really, but perhaps he should have been. After all, our Ron Stone was indeed one of the most legendary news anchors Houston's ever seen, and he helped shape the way our city broadcasted news for a long time after he retired.
Stone spent nearly three decades on the Houston news scene, ten years of which were as anchorman at Houston's KHOU, and two more decades at Channel 2, where he stayed until his retirement in 1992.
In those three decades, Stone's signature style -- a folksy, down-to-earth manner of storytelling -- and his sign off, "Good night, neighbors," became synonymous with Houston news. He passed away in 2008, and at that time, Dave Ward spoke to Channel 13 about Stone's career.
"He just had a way about him I thought was outstanding," Ward told the station. "And in my estimation, Ron Stone was the finest television news anchor this city ever saw or ever will."
2. Wayne Dolcefino Oh, good ol' Wayne Dolcefino. While not technically a news anchor, this investigative reporter made quite a name for himself as the face of the "13 Undercover" reports, where he'd bust out anyone from local pastors to crooked politicians.
Dolcefino joined the station as an investigative reporter in 1985, and it wasn't long before he became one of the most well-known news personalities in Houston. His knack for dramatic reporting and a keen ability to dig up Houston's illicit activities set him apart from other reporters, and the fiery reactions of the subjects of his investigations only helped add to the drama.
Wayne stayed on as the station's investigative reporter for nearly three decades -- opting to leave only in late 2012 -- and by the end of his run, Dolcefino's name was something every native Houstonian knew. People either loved or hated Wayne Dolcefino, depending on their side of the coin, but everyone knew exactly who he was.
1. Marvin Zindler If you weren't sure whether Marvin Zindler was a down-ass motherfucker, you should know that indeed he was. You'd be hard-pressed to find another news personality who would have broadcast his last report from a hospital bed at M.D. Anderson, but Marvin Zindler did. He was that hardcore.
Marvin began his broadcast career not on Houston television but in radio, at a now-defunct station back in 1943. But luckily for us, after spending a few years bouncing in and out of other areas of journalism, he found his way to television, where he became the most legendary news personality ever to emerge from the Bayou City.
Despite a number of very big contributions to Texas history -- including his involvement in the shuttering of the Chicken Ranch -- Marvin is probably still best known for his love of slime in the ice machine, which was only just better than the weekly rat and roach report. That thing scarred us for life.
But whether Marvin Zindler was telling us about how filthy the back kitchen of some taco spot on Wayside was, or how some shady pest control business ripped off a single mother, when Marvin was reporting, he did it with style -- and sometimes, often, purple hair -- which just made it all the more glorious.
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