KPCC photo of Steve Julian in 2001.
KPCC posted a little while ago that Steve Julian has died. Julian went public last fall with his diagnosis of advanced stage brain cancer. Since then, he and his wife, Felicia Friesema, have keep friends and fans in the loop with regular posts about the progression of the disease and their attempts to cope with his nearing death. Julian had been off the air since November.
Julian, the morning news host at KPCC since 2000, was the best friend of longtime KPCC host Larry Mantle.
"He was a singular talent," Mantle said in a story today at KPCC's website. "He is completely irreplaceable. The tone and richness of his voice perfectly conveyed the man behind it."
In January, KPCC named the studio where he broadcast "Morning Edition" the Steve Julian Studio.
Julian was born in Pomona in 1958 and spent the majority of his life in Southern California.
“He came across as someone who was knowledgeable, friendly and accessible, and that’s the kind of sound we wanted – one that was not lecturing to you but was riding along with you in the car to work,” said Bill Davis, president of Southern California Public Radio/KPCC.
A chance meeting launches a career in news
Julian's news career began when he met Mantle while working at KPRO, a Riverside radio station, in the early 1980s. KPRO was in the process of switching its format from big band music to all-news and talk. The boss overheard Julian, who worked in production, talking to Mantle, who was the assistant news director, as they discussed the day's events in the newsroom.
"The news director said that we had such great chemistry that we should co-anchor the afternoon drive time," Mantle recalled.
Before he would join KPCC in 2000, Julian spent time as a Baldwin Park police officer. He also was a playwight, director and actor on the stage around Los Angeles. He directed "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Death of Salesman" at the Covina Center for the Performing Arts and new plays at the Coeurage Theatre Company.
Julian is survived by Friesema and his mother. KPCC posted that Friesema told the station, " Donations can be made to Coeurage Theatre Company where Steve served as a board member or Ensemble Studio Theater Los Angeles where Steve was an active member. And of course, donations can be made to KPCC, because he believed so strongly in his employer that he was also a longtime contributing member."
*Monday update: Statement from Mayor Eric Garcetti:
"Steve Julian has been a beloved staple of Los Angeles radio for the last 16 years. He rode with us to work and kept us in the know. Smart, consistent, talented, and deeply caring of his listeners, Steve was a committed journalist of the highest order. Los Angeles will miss him dearly."