Tony Valdez, a reporter and broadcaster for KTTV Channel 11 in Los Angeles for more than 35 years, has passed away. He turned 78.
Valdez battled end-stage renal failure and died at home, his son, Steve Valdez, told the station on Friday.
Born in East Los Angeles, Valdez attended LA City College and served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He worked at local TV stations KCET and KTLA and the La opinion newspaper before joining KTTV in 1981 when it was owned by Metromedia.
“You could look around the TV stations and you’d see one or two black anchors, a handful of black reporters, but no brown ones, no Asians,” he said. said when he retired in 2016. “I was lucky enough to be one of the people who, to put it bluntly, broke the color barrier.
“Whether it’s murder, mayhem, death or disaster,” he added, “those are the things I feel responsible to report.”
As host, Valdez presided Afternoon Sunday for more than three decades and LA’s most wanted, a crime series, for 27 years. He also anchored weekend newscasts in the 1990s with Christine Devine.
“Anyone who has worked with Tony can tell you about his total commitment to truth in journalism. He knew this city inside and out,” Devine said.
Pete Wilgoren, acting news director at Fox O&O, added, “Tony Valdez was a pioneering reporter, advocate and mentor. He was one of the first Latino journalists to break the color barrier in Los Angeles. And Tony proudly said that he spent 35 years, five months and four days covering the stories of this city on KTTV. We are better journalists and a better community thanks to Tony Valdez’s reporting and compassion.”
Valdez, the station’s store clerk, chaired the 8 Ball Emergency Fundwho helps local journalists in need and awards grants, and has been a teacher for many years for the Los Angeles Conservatoryleading downtown tours.
In addition to his son, the survivors include his three grandchildren. Donations in his name can be made to the LA Conservancy or 8 Ball Fund.