Hal Fishman

Hal Fishman
Los Angeles Times


Hal Fishman
TV: East side of the 1500 block of Vine Street
Born Aug. 25, 1931 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Died Aug. 7, 2007 of colon cancer in Brentwood, Calif.

The award-winning KTLA-TV Channel 5 news anchor, Hal Fishman, was a Los Angeles broadcasting fixture for nearly 50 years.

A broadcaster who began his television career in Los Angeles in 1960, Fishman had anchored his station's 10 p.m. newscast — now called "KTLA Prime News" — since 1975. He covered major news stories in Southern California, including the Watts riots, the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, the Sylmar and Northridge earthquakes and the Rodney G. King beating case.

A onetime assistant professor of political science, he also served as the newscast's managing editor and commentator.

"When I think of the hundreds of anchors who have come and gone over the last 30 years — many of them better-looking and better-coiffed than I ever was — there was one area that they were not better, and that is in being dedicated to being informed. And I think the audience perceives that," Fishman told The Times in 1990.

He was an assistant professor of political science at Cal State L.A. in 1960 when KCOP-TV Channel 13 invited him to teach an on-air class in politics — "American Political Parties and Politics" — during the summer the Democratic National Convention was being held in L.A.

In a 2006 interview with Broadcasting & Cable magazine, Fishman recalled the first words he said on television: "Good afternoon, I'm professor Hal Fishman, and this course is certainly quite unique for me, because it's the first course that I have ever taught where the student can turn the professor off."

In 1965, Fishman moved to KTLA-TV, where he contributed to the station's Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning coverage of the Watts riots.

He moved to KTTV-TV Channel 11 in 1970, returned to KTLA in 1971 and moved to KHJ-TV (now KCAL-TV) Channel 9 in 1973 before returning to KTLA in 1975.

Like many Los Angeles TV newspeople, Fishman appeared as a newsman in a number of movies, including "Joe Dirt" and "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles." He also co-wrote two novels with Barry Schiff: "The Vatican Target" (1978) and "Flight 902 Is Down!" (1982).

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