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Obit: Broadcaster Chris Stanley is Dead at 65

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 12, 2012 at 7:31PM

When I was invited to a friend's memorial via Facebook, I thought, "No, I just heard Chris Stanley on KUSC." In fact the same day that I heard him on Arts Alive, he died of a heart attack. He had just moved back to Los Angeles from working as Fox News Radio's night anchor in New York.
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Gail Eichenthal, Gray Davis, and Chris Stanley
Gail Eichenthal, Gray Davis, and Chris Stanley

When I was invited to a friend's memorial via Facebook, I thought, "No, I just heard Chris Stanley on KUSC." In fact the same day that I heard him on Arts Alive, he died of a heart attack. He had just moved back to Los Angeles from working as Fox News Radio's night anchor in New York. He was a broadcaster who could get the facts straight under huge time pressure-- and do it live.

I met Stanley through our friend Gail Eichenthal, when they worked together at KNX Newsradio. First, Stanley was a hard news reporter (he covered six political conventions), but he was also a passionate cinephile who loved putting together smart, efficiently-crafted arts features. Interviewing Gore Vidal, Edward Albee and Abbie Hoffman (when he was on the run) was Stanley's idea of a good time.

Stanley grew up in Ohio, influenced by his father, a radio and television journalist. After studying drama at Pepperdine, Stanley started as a radio DJ and following a Southeast Asia stint in the Air Force, Stanley began a long career as a broadcaster at WIVK and WNOX in Knoxville. He moved from Wisconsin to Texas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Unusually, he worked at WPIX-FM, DIR Broadcasting and Pacifica Radio and put in16 years at CBS Radio, followed by KNX and Fox News.

In 2002, Stanley won a Golden Mike for a KNX series on Elvis Presley. Eichenthal and Stanley shared a Golden Mike for their KNX Oscar coverage in 2003. In 2004, Stanley's series on Ronald Reagan won both a Golden Mike and an Associated Press regional award.

Stanley had deeply internalized 60s values. He wore a ponytail. He never bullshitted. Stanley cared about journalism enough to resent it when his bosses lowered their standards instead of raising them.

Thanks to Stanley's long-time colleague at CBS and Fox, Bill Vitka, for biographical information.

This article is related to: Media, Obit


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.