Mario Machado, newscaster and voice of soccer was 78

mario-machado2.jpgMario Machado was a familiar presence on Los Angeles TV and radio for a few decades starting in 1967, when he joined Channel 9 (then KHJ-TV) as the city's first Chinese-American TV news reporter. Machado had been born in Shanghai of Chinese and Portuguese heritage: his father was a vice-chancellor of the Portuguese consulate in Shanghai. From KHJ Machado moved quickly moved to "The Big News" at Channel 2, the city's dominant evening news program with Jerry Dunphy as the anchor. He became the city's first designated consumer reporter. In the 1970s Machado hosted "Noontime" on KNXT and began to handle a number of other news and interview shows, as well as radio. Wikipedia notes ten Emmy awards for Machado.

Machado was an early local proponent of soccer when the sport wasn't very popular in Los Angeles. He did TV color commentary for CBS network coverage, worked the World Cup tournaments and the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and hosted “Star Soccer” PBS stations. He published Soccer Corner Magazine in the 1970s and 80s, and is credited with being a founder of the American Youth Soccer Organization — and with pushing to open AYSO to girls. "Girls play soccer today because of Mario," his friend and collaborator Barbara Egyud posted on Facebook this weekend.

Machado's movie credits include "Brian's Song,'' "Oh, God!'' "Airport '79,'' "Scarface,'' "St. Elmo's Fire'' and "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn.'' Most recently Machado has been gathering oral histories from people who left China after the Communist revolution, and was a co-founder of the "Old China Hands Archives'' at Cal State Northridge.

Machado had Parkinson's in recent years and died at a convalescent facility in West Hills.

From USC professor Joe Saltzman, a former KNXT producer, on Facebook:

In the early 1970s, I produced a show called "It Takes All Kinds" and Mario was the host. It was a unique, experimental program and he told me he was proud to be a part of it. The 30-minute series offered the first realistic portrayal of male gays, which was followed up by a similar program on lesbians. Both shows featured average, nonstereotypical gays talking about what it was like to be gay, why they stayed in the closet or what happened when they came out of the closet. No one had seen anything like it before. It was the first time a TV audience could see gays as their next-door neighbors, lawyers, doctors, dentists. Mario was very easy to work with and appreciative of good writing and production. When the show was canceled, he was as angry as I was. He continued to work in TV while I went to USC. I'll miss him. He was also wonderful as the TV news anchor of the future (in a terrific parody of TV anchors) in the Robocop movies.

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