Texarkana, TX 41° View Live Radar Sat H 70° L 56° Sun H 76° L 58° Mon H 71° L 46° Weather Sponsored By:

Pioneering TV newswoman Sylvia Chase dies at age 80

Pioneering TV newswoman Sylvia Chase dies at age 80

January 8th, 2019 by Sam Roberts—New York Times News Service in Obituaries

Sylvia Chase, an Emmy Award-winning correspondent whose professionalism and perseverance in the 1970s helped a generation of women infiltrate the boys club of television news, died Thursday in Marin County, California. She was 80.

Her death was confirmed by Shelly Ross, a former network news colleague, who said Chase had undergone surgery for brain cancer several weeks ago.

Chase was one of a number of correspondents hired by network and local television news departments—along with Connie Chung, Cassie Mackin, Marya McLaughlin, Virginia Sherwood, Lesley Stahl and others—at a time when women were striving to be taken seriously and to defy being typecast as eye candy for male viewers.

While they had been preceded a decade earlier by pioneers like Marlene Sanders, Chase and her contemporaries were members of a freshman class still more concerned with getting into broadcast news on the ground floor than worried about being passed over for promotion later on because of a glass ceiling.

Chase was an original member of the reporting team for the weekly ABC News magazine "20/20"; a correspondent for another ABC News series, "Primetime"; and the producer and host of a daytime program for CBS, "Magazine." She also anchored the nightly news on KRON-TV in San Francisco.

She broke ground on topics like sex abuse in the workplace and in prison. She also reported on a diet pill that was linked to lung disease, a treatment program for drug-addicted musicians, an epidemic of diabetes (a disease that she endured herself) among Native Americans in New Mexico, racism in law enforcement and publicly funded programs that provided horrific care for disabled children.

She won Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University and George Foster Peabody awards and shared an Emmy in 1978 with her producer, Stanhope Gould, for a report on exploding automobile gas tanks. TV Guide once called her "the most trusted woman on TV."

Sylvia Belle Chase was born Feb. 23, 1938, in Northfield, Minnesota, to Kelsey David Chase and Sylvia (Bennett) Chase. After her parents divorced, she was raised by her grandmother in Minneapolis. The grandmother was listed in census records as the custodian of an apartment house whose tenants included Sylvia's aunt, a radio announcer.

Sylvia's first broadcasting job was reporting on junior high school doings for a show she and her older sister produced for local radio.

Chase earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1961 from the University of California, Los Angeles, taking two extra years to graduate because she was working her way through college as a receptionist. Her brief marriage to Robert Rosenstone, a history professor at the California Institute of Technology, ended in divorce. Complete information on survivors was not immediately available. She lived in Belvedere, California.

She worked for Democratic legislators and candidates in California in the 1960s until she was hired by the Los Angeles radio station KNX. In 1971, she joined CBS News in New York, where she wrote and narrated a new radio series, "The American Woman," which replaced the on-air advice column "Dear Abby." She was later a correspondent on the "CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite."

She was hired by ABC News in 1977 and was a correspondent for "20/20" from 1978 to 1985. KRON promoted her return to California in 1985 with billboards proclaiming, "The Chase Is On."

"I resolve to raise public awareness about two issues," she told The San Francisco Chronicle in 1988: "the perils facing California's children and the growing crisis in caring for AIDS patients."

Chase left San Francisco in 1990 and returned to ABC in New York. When her contract was not renewed after the network retrenched in 2001, she moved to PBS, where she narrated a documentary series titled "Exposé" and joined "Now With Bill Moyers" as a correspondent.

In 1973, during the Watergate scandal, Chase was determined to get an interview with President Richard M. Nixon's younger daughter, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, who was emerging as one of Nixon's foremost public defenders. She revealed her successful strategy to Savvy magazine.

"The basic rule is not to take 'No,' ever," Chase said. "Call again and again, every day."

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com