Stan Chambers, the dean of LA television reporters, dies at 91

stan-chambers-young.jpgCredit: KTLA

KTLA Channel 5 just announced that Stan Chambers died this morning at his home in Holmby Hills. He was 91 years old, but here are the real eye-popping stats. Chambers worked for the station for 63 years and did 22,000 stories. Since we're doing numbers, Stan is survived by 11 children and 38 grandchildren.

From KTLA's story:

“He will be remembered as a pioneer in the industry, and a pillar of the KTLA family,” KTLA News Director Jason Ball said.

Chambers was fresh out of the U.S. Navy, enrolled in USC and working on the campus magazine when he first heard about KTLA.

“I heard a program one night saying that one of the local television stations had expanded its broadcasting schedule,” Chamber said during a 2010 retrospective of his career. “I didn’t even know that television was on the air. And I said, ‘How about doing a program on a campus magazine?’ That was my debut and after it was over, I thought, ‘Oh, this is a wonderful job.'”

A few months later, KTLA invited Stan to join the fledgling station. He started work on Dec. 1, 1947.

The story notes that Chambers worked off camera at first, then played a role in a key episode of the emergence of television as a news medium. He covered the story of Kathy Fiscus, a 3-year-old girl trapped in an abandoned well in San Marino. Again, KTLA:

Chambers, along with journalist Bill Welsh, alternated coverage during a live 27-hour telecast covering the rescue operation. Despite only an estimated few thousand television sets in Los Angeles, the groundbreaking moment proved to be a shared experience across the Southland, Chambers said.

“We had no idea of the impact that this was going to make,” Chambers said. “It really brought the city together. Los Angeles was a big city, but on this one weekend, it became a small town. Neighbors would visit neighbors they didn’t know very well. They’d sit in front of the set. They’d have dinner there. They’d go to sleep on the floor, really right up to the end.

“For the first time, they experienced the long form of television, that they were a part of this whole broadcast from the moment they started looking,” Chambers said.


Chambers retired from KTLA officially in 2010, at age 87. Here's the LA Times obit and coverage at Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. Every Los Angeles TV news station has also posted stories about Chambers. Previously at LA Observed:
We could call him Sir Stan Chambers
Stan Chambers makes it official
Standing ovation: Stan Chambers to retire
This day in history: KTLA airs live nuclear blast

Reaction starting to come in:

More by Kevin Roderick:
'In on merit' at USC
Read the memo: LA Times hires again
Read the memo: LA Times losing big on search traffic
Google taking over LA's deadest shopping mall
Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
Recent Obituaries stories on LA Observed:
Doug Jeffe: a remembrance
Jonathan Gold, LA's preeminent food writer, has died at 57
Harlan Ellison, dangerous visionary
Murray Fromson, a fighter to the end
Cory Iverson, 32, California firefighter dies on Thomas Fire
Bruce Brown, surfing filmmaker of 'The Endless Summer,' dies at 80
A salute to Anacleto Rapping, photographer
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes