Monday, July 30, 2007

TV newsman Tom Snyder, 71, dies in SF

Newsman Tom Snyder, who spent his retirement in the Marin County town of Belvedere, has died at a San Francisco hospital from complications associated with leukemia at age 71, the AP reports. Snyder hosted a late-night interview show, "Tomorrow," from 1973 to 1982 following Johnny Carson on NBC. He returned several years later to do a similar show following David Letterman on CBS. Snyder was also a successful local news anchor in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

UPDATE (July 31): Former Newsday media critic Marvin Kitman says Synder was a "giant in the land of pygmies that is broadcasting ...
    "TV in the Twentieth Century was awash with talkers, but not interviewers like Tom. He was a master conversationalist. His secret was that he listened. I once saw him even listening to Markie Post talk about metaphysics. He had total confidence that whatever interested him will be of interest to you. ...

    He had fled the canyon life in LA for the even better life in Marin County outside San Francisco. He was living in a house by the bay (Belvedere) with his faithful sheep dog, his model trains, and his thoughts about the decline of western civilization. "American society all gone, " he explained. "Televisison all gone." It was terrible what was happening to network news. "Did you see what they were doing on the Today show this morning?" It was Halloween. "Those costumes. And they had accused me of running a circus."
UPDATE (Aug. 1): Investigative journalist Peter Barry Chowka recalls a 1987 radio interview with Snyder.
    "I was immediately struck by Snyder's warm and friendly welcome ... Snyder was dressed very casually and had the unassuming manner of entertaining a guest in his living room. I half expected him to offer me a drink. ...

    "Snyder didn't need a legion of producers and writers to get him on the air. I doubt that he was dependent, as are today's anchors and hosts, on the TelePrompTer. His career is also a reminder that at one time people on TV were not chosen almost solely for their youthful images and stunning good looks."

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