Marsh during a WNBC newscast
Michele Marsh, who was a familiar, reassuring face to millions of television news viewers across the tri-state area, passed away earlier this week at age 63. The NY Times reports that “she died on Tuesday at her home in South Kent, Conn.”; her son said the cause was complications from breast cancer.
According to the Times, “Ms. Marsh was one of several women — Carol Jenkins, Pia Lindstrom, Carol Martin and Melba Tolliver were the others — who had by 1980 swept into anchor positions at all five of the New York stations that had late-night news programs. Ms. Marsh, at 25, was the youngest of them. They joined a wave of women, including Pat Harper, Judy Licht, Rose Ann Scamardella and Sue Simmons, whom television audiences, used to all-male newscasters, welcomed in the 1970s.”
Marsh, who grew up in Detroit and graduated from Northwestern, “worked at stations in Maine and Texas before coming to New York for a job in October 1979,” PIX 11 reports. “She ran the teleprompter with her toes while on the air at WABI-TV, the New York Times reported. Marsh was also so popular in her position at a San Antonio station that she had security guards to fend off her admirers.”
During her career in NYC, she co-anchored with Rolland Smith, Jim Jensen, Ernie Anastos and John Johnson.
When WCBS embarked on an “unprecedented bloodbath
” in 1996, firing anchors Marsh, Johnson and Tony Guida (plus reporters Bernie Smilovitz, Reggie Harris, Magee Hickey and Roseanne Colletti), Marsh headed to WNBC, where she co-anchored alongside Chuck Scarborough. In this clip, movie critic Jeffrey Lyons accidentally calls her “Sue” (for Sue Simmons) around the 25 second mark:
Her son John Paschall told the Daily News, “She fought an incredible fight, and she beat all the odds against her. The doctors thought she wouldn’t see me graduate and wouldn’t see me get married, and she did both of those things.”
He added, “What she always prided herself on was just really going beyond the basic facts of the story and taking pride in storytelling in general… I think that in today’s world, that gets lost. She loved the power of the story, and she passed that on to me.” Paschall is a digital producer at WNBC.
An emotional Dana Tyler announced Marsh’s death on WCBS 2: