Gil Stratton, 86, called 'em as he saw 'em *

StrattonA friend of longtime Los Angeles sportscaster Gil Stratton emailed the news that Stratton died this morning at home in Toluca Lake. He was 86 and had suffered heart problems. Stratton was a fixture on KNX Radio and Channel 2 for decades and the popular sports anchor on "The Big News" with Jerry Dunphy that ushered in the era of hour-long news in L.A. From the obit being circulated by friends:

Stratton, 86, was a native of Brooklyn, NY and started out as a Broadway performer at the age of 19 in the musical "Best Foot Forward." That led to a career in films including a supporting role in the Academy Award-winning "Stalag 17".

His career was interrupted by World War II when he served as a bombardier in the Army Air Corps.

In 1954, Stratton caught the attention of management at Channel 2, then KNXT, and became a sportscaster. He became part of the "Big News" team headed by anchor Jerry Dunphy as the station dominated local news ratings in the 1960's. Drawing on his background as a baseball umpire, Stratton would open his sportscasts with a trademark line: "Hi folks, time to call 'em as we see 'em." He is the recipient of seven "Golden Mike" awards from the Southern California Broadcasters association.

Stratton's acting credits on IMDb span 1943 to 2003.

* Updates: His website now has a condolences book up, and KCAL ran a report Saturday night.

Noted: Haig Keropian, the retired editorial page editor of the Daily News starting in its Valley News and Green Sheet days, died Tuesday in Van Nuys at age 91. Here's the paper's story.

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