John Roland, Sturdy Anchor at Fox Flagship in N.Y., Dies at 81
John Roland, the Emmy Award-winning anchor of the ten p.m. newscast on Fox’s flagship station and a reliable fixture on native tv information in New York for 35 years, died on Sunday in North Miami Beach, Fla. He was 81.
The trigger was problems of a stroke, his spouse, Zayda Galasso, mentioned.
While Fox 5’s nightly newscast started with the ominous question, “It’s 10 p.m. Do you already know the place your kids are?” Mr. Roland was a reassuring presence throughout the quarter-century that he anchored the weeknight program, from 1979, when he succeeded Bill Jorgensen, who was lured to WPIX-TV, till simply earlier than he retired in 2004. The program usually topped the rankings at that hour for TV information.
“John was very likable, not a formidable presence like Bill Jorgensen,” Ted Kavanagh, the station’s information director from 1968 to 1974, mentioned in an e mail. “He was extra a Jimmy Stewart sort. An American Everyman that one way or the other finds himself thrust into the limelight and makes a surprisingly sturdy impression.”
One of Mr. Roland’s co-anchors, Judy Licht Della Femina, who described herself as “the primary feminine anchor in Channel 5’s historical past,” mentioned, “Back when it had a reasonably gritty, testosterone-laden newsroom, John was there to guard me. He seemed out for me.”
John Roland Gingher Jr. was born in Pittsburgh on Nov. 25, 1941, to John and Marian Gingher. His father was a foundry inspector.
After graduating from California State University at Long Beach in 1964, Mr. Roland started his profession in broadcasting as a researcher for NBC News in Los Angeles in 1966 and abbreviated his title.
As a reporter for KTTV, a Metromedia station there, he coated Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1968 and the trial of Charles Manson, who was convicted of first-degree homicide and conspiracy in 1971 for the deaths of seven individuals, together with the movie actress Sharon Tate.
In 1969, Mr. Roland was employed as a political reporter by Metromedia’s sister station, WNEW in New York (now Fox’s WNYW). He additionally labored as a weekend anchor and produced a cooking characteristic earlier than being promoted to weeknight anchor.
In 1983, Mr. Roland made information when he disarmed one in every of three robbers who tried to carry up a restaurant on East 67th Street in Manhattan reverse Fox’s broadcast heart. He shot one with the robber’s personal gun, however was hit over the top with a pistol. He wanted 36 stitches to shut the wound.
In 1986, he grew to become a associate in an Upper East Side restaurant, Marcello, which was awarded two stars in a evaluate by Bryan Miller of The USA Prime Time.
Mr. Roland was briefly suspended in 1988 after a heated on-air interview with Joyce Brown, a mentally ailing homeless lady whose involuntary dedication to a psychological hospital for therapy had been efficiently challenged by the New York Civil Liberties Union. Mr. Roland had encountered Ms. Brown, who additionally glided by the title Billie Boggs, earlier than her incarceration; she had lived in entrance of a sizzling air vent close to the tv station.
The interview grew combative when Mr. Roland challenged Ms. Brown’s assertion that she had by no means wanted any hospital care; he cited her conduct within the streets that he had witnessed and located offensive. The station was flooded with complaints, in addition to calls of help for Mr. Roland.
He was suspended, a spokesman for the station mentioned, as a result of throughout the interview “his feelings prevailed over objectivity.” He later apologized on the air and in a cellphone name to Ms. Brown and mentioned his interview had been “very insensitive.”
Mr. Roland gained two native Emmy Awards, in 1976-77 as a author on the Sunday 10 p.m. information, and in 1981-82, which he shared with colleagues on the weeknight information broadcast.
He appeared as an anchor within the movies “Hero at Large” (1980), “Eyewitness” (1981) and “The Object of My Affection” (1998), and as himself in “The Scout” (1994).
Mr. Roland was married 4 occasions. In addition to Ms. Galasso, he’s survived by a brother, Ronald; a stepdaughter, Natasha; and a step-granddaughter.
He left the ten p.m. slot in 2003, anchoring newscasts at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. till he retired in 2004.
“I need to thanks for inviting me into your property for all these years,” he mentioned from the anchor desk on his final broadcast. “It’s an invite I by no means took without any consideration and all the time thought-about an honor.”