September 22, 2017
Bob, I know this is going to sound corny but it really makes me feel good to know there are still people out there that remember Saul and his work in his heyday.
- Alan Gordon, Saul's nephew (Long Beach)
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When I was a pup learning how to be a film cameraman, Saul Halpert was so helpful allowing me to film his news stories and stand ups. He was very patient, helpful, kind and understanding. The problem was he spoiled me. I expected other reporters to conduct themselves like Saul, and enough said. God has allowed me to meet two great men in my life, Saul and Sam Greenwald. Rest in peace.
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Bob, thanks for keeping us up to date, and thanks for letting me know the very sad news about Saul. Saul was a splendid model of a reporter with great integrity, who did his work straight, refusing to doll it all up with anything false or flashy. He had a fine and quiet sense of humor and an enviable sense of imminent news. We worked together on the Big News for a few years. I wish it had been for more. We become so few so suddenly, it seems.
- Bob Simmons
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I was very saddened to learn of Saul's passing, though he certainly had a good, long run. Notwithstanding his physical size, Saul clearly was one of the giants of L.A. broadcast news.
I first crossed paths with Saul in the early '70s when he was covering politics for the Big News and I was a fairly young political reporter with Santa Monica's Evening Outlook. I didn't really get to know him back then but enthusiastically will defer to the description of Saul in Pete Noyes' incisive chronicle of the inception and demise of the Big News (Who Killed the Big News?). Here's the passage:
"During the early days of the Big News most of our political reporting was done by Saul Halpert, a longtime veteran of the L.A. news wars who did not exactly fit the conventional image of the good looking TV reporter with the blown dry hair and pretty face. Halpert was a...gritty little guy who asked hard and often long questions. Once we timed one of his questions at nearly four minutes."
One of our profession's great ones is gone. But he should long be remembered. RIP Saul.
- Arnie Friedman
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Before KNBC upgraded to modular work stations, reporters sat at mismatched wood desks grouped in fours. When I arrived in 1983, Jack Perkins had just been awarded an office, so I took his desk to sit with John Marshall, Harvey Levin, and Saul. Each morning, Harvey was usually booking his next big gig; Marshall would be on the phone arguing with his wife (“Jesus, Joan…”); and Saul quietly clipped articles from piles of newspapers. Finally, I asked him “Do you really file all of those articles?” His answer: “No, but if you keep scissors in your hand, you can read the whole paper and they leave you alone because they think you’re busy.” Career-advice gold.
- Kent Schocknek
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I worked with Saul Halpert for a short period of time at NBC News. He was a reporter; I was an editor. Saul was always the gentleman and a scholar. He was a pleasure to work with. We met all our deadlines. He knew his stuff. It was not easy then. There were anti-Vietnam war protests, the oil crisis, rationing of gasoline, Women's Rights, The Pill, Hot Pants, Watergate and Richard Nixon resigned as president. You pick it. The list went on including Tom Bradley became Mayor of Los Angeles.
Saul was a pro. He handled what ever story the assignment desk gave him. Saul had a smile as if he was ready to burst out laughing. I knew he always contained it. That is the way I will remember Saul. R.I.P.
- Louis Gabriele
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Saul was a terrific newsman and it was an honor to work with him. They don't make them like that anymore.
- Tom Capra
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Saul Halpert was more than an excellent reporter. He was a very decent man. I do not think I ever met anyone who had a bad word to say about Saul. Journalism needs more people like Saul Halpert but they are very hard to find.
- Dan Blackburn
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Dear Bob: I certainly remember Saul Halpert as a respected news guy & great person... How wonderful that he got to enjoy the Geezer group in his final years... Thanks for all you do to keep people connected!
- Angela Shelley
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If you would like to add your thoughts onSaul Halpert to this tribute page... please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org... and I will insert them.
Thank you, Bob
Saul Halpert - a long time member of the News Geezers - died at his assisted living home in Sherman Oaks on Tuesday, August 16. He was 93. Saul was, of course, a broadcast legend for his standout journalism... first at the ABC, and then CBS and NBC-owned stations in Los Angeles. On this page, you will find the obit written by the family - as well as reflections and remembrances from those in the News Geezers. The photo below shows Stan Chambers with Saul at a News Geezers lunch where we celebrated their 90th birthdays. Video of a lunch where Saul was interviewed can be found at https://vimeo.com/161859644. The interview starts 1:40 in. A memorial service for Saul was held on Sun Sep 25 at Westwood Village Memorial Park. - Bob
Written by the Family
Published in the Los Angeles Times - August 18
Saul Halpert of Sherman Oaks, CA died peacefully at home on Tuesday afternoon, August 16 at the age of 93. Saul was born on September 22, 1922 in Albany, New York to Daniel and Rose Poskanzer Halpert.
At age 16 he moved with his father to Los Angeles, where Saul attended Belmont High School and graduated in 1940. At Belmont he met the love of his life Ruth Levin.
He earned an AA degree in 1942 from Los Angeles City College and entered the Army, where he served as a 2nd Lieutenant. Saul and Ruth married in New York City in November, 1943.
Upon completing his military service, Saul returned with Ruth to Los Angeles, where he launched a career in broadcast journalism that lasted 40 years and made him a household name to millions of people. After two years in radio, he transferred to television and helped found the News Department at Channel 7, KABC-TV. He remained there for sixteen years. While working, Saul earned a B.A. in Social Studies at USC. In 1960 he was the first broadcast journalist to receive a one year graduate fellowship from the Haynes Foundation, which allowed him to earn a Master’s degree in Journalism from UCLA.
Saul is best known for his decade each at KNXT and KNBC. As a reporter at KNXT, Saul was a key member of "The Big News," one of the nation’s first news hours. At KNBC, he was a reporter and moderator of Channel 4 News Conference, the station’s Emmy Award winning interview program. He twice received a Golden Mike from the Television News Association of Southern California for that program. Saul’s assignments ranged from race relations in Los Angeles to
national issues and international affairs. He covered many Democratic and Republican national conventions and presidential election campaigns.
After leaving KNBC in 1989, Saul lectured, served as a panelist on programs dealing with the role of mass media in the political process, and worked as a freelance writer, media consultant, and instructor in broadcast journalism at both USC and UCLA.
While maintaining the highest standards of objectivity in his professional role, Saul was also a tireless advocate of civil and human rights. He worked at various times as shop steward for the the Writers Guild of America, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET), and the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
Saul was preceded in death by his son Robert in 1981, and wife Ruth in 1998. He will be missed especially by his son Jim and wife Li Wang, nephews Stuart Halpert, Jerry Gordon, and Allan Gordon, niece Cecille Gordon, and caregiver Carmen Guerra. A memorial service will be held at the Westwood Village Memorial Park, 1218 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 474-1529. The date and time will be determined later. Memorial contributions can be made to The Ruth L. Halpert Memorial Scholarship Endowment in the name of Saul E. Halpert. CSUN Foundation,1811 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330-8321. Inquiries at (818) 677-6057 or email@example.com.
A Tribute to Saul Halpert - 1922-2016
Tom Brokaw here. I was sorry to hear about Saul.
We met first as competitors when I moved to California in 1966 and quickly became friends. He was a terrific reporter and a good guy.
- Tom Brokaw
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I first encountered Saul Halpert In 1967, when I was trying to learn the art and science of TV reporting at a station in San Francisco. I was assigned to cover Ronald Reagan's first run-in with the UC Board of Regents on the campus of UC Santa Barbara. The crush of reporters and camera operators that followed Reagan away that evening in a tangle of light-and camera-chords got nothing of substance. But I saw Saul, standing calmly back and delivering a concise summary of the meeting in a standup for the Big News. He used the mob behind him to illustrate what coverage of a celebrity governor was going to be like. He got the story and provided the context as well as a glimpse of the future-- all at the same time.
Later on, I was Saul's admiring colleague, but I never took a moment to tell him that he had showed me how it ought to be done. I'll always regret that, but it's a lasting memory, and I'll always feel privileged for my association with a consummate pro who was also a very lovely man.
- Warren Olney
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The death of Saul Halpert brings back many memories of this tough, gritty undersize reporter. Back on Dec. 14, 1963 at KNXT I assigned Saul to cover the arrest of the Sinatra Jr. kidnappers at an FBI news conference. Right in the middle of the news conference I paged Saul and told him to take his crew and head to the Baldwin Hills Dam which might burst at any minute. Saul cursed me out but followed orders. He, cameraman Doug Dare and soundman Pierre Adidge were standing on the dam when it broke and barely escaped death. Eventually they were rescued by a sheriff's helicopter. You've probably seen their film of the dam collapse at one time or another. It's an L.A. classic and so was Saul. Rest in Peace brother.
- Pete Noyes (from Facebook)
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Saul was the steady pro we all looked up to when I joined KNBC in 1977. Fair, businesslike and as far as I could see apolitical. I learned a lot watching him work and watching his work on air. I assume Saul had personal thoughts on the stories and politicians he covered…but I’m not sure anyone knew what they were. The newsroom was better with him in it.
- John Beard
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I realized for the first time my colleague, Saul Halpert, was a true friend when I was giving my eulogy at my father's funeral in 1976 and spotted Saul sitting in the back of the church. I will never forget that moment. It told me the kind of man he was. Kind, generous and caring. And his genuine love of people, especially the underdog, made him a reporter like few others in local television news. He loved to chase any kind of story, but his specialty was covering politics. Saul understood how it all worked and had a special talent for sorting things out in a fair, objective and easy to understand way. In recent weeks, I've been wondering what Saul might be thinking of the coverage of the election as it has spiraled downward into a quagmire of name-calling and demagoguery. If we ever needed you, Saul Halpert, it is now.
- John Marshall
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Bob Tarlau has reported that Saul Halpert, one of the great Los Angeles reporters who valued accuracy and fairness in every story he ever covered, died today (August 16) at 3 p.m. in an assisted care living facility in Sherman Oaks. He was 93.
If there were a golden age of television journalism, then it was because of reporters like Saul Halpert who was as determined a newshound as ever lived. He would attack a story and not let go until he was sure he had given the audience all the facts, the complete story without fear or favor.
He was one of the non-pretty male reporters. He knew he wasn’t hired because of his looks; he was hired because of his experience, his integrity and his knowledge of how to tell a story quickly and efficiently using film when it told the story best, but knowing that audio – his voice narrative – could be as important as the picture in making sure the audience understood every nuance of the story.
When he started at KNXT this was no easy thing to do. Everyone in television news was fascinated by video. I remember one producer telling Saul,” If you want to hear your voice, go over to KNX radio. Here we tell stories in pictures.” But Saul knew that pictures alone didn’t always tell the story. His voice-overs were beautifully concise and phrased so that there were no wasted words, no wasted effort. The story was what was important to Saul, not the medium.
Halpert would tackle the most complicated story – and he got most of them because those who created the newscasts trusted him the most – and make it accessible to an audience in less than two minutes. He was always arguing for more time, for 2 and a half minutes, three minutes or more. (That sounds absurd in today’s news market where 30 seconds for a news story is a long time.)
There aren’t any Saul Halperts around anymore. At one time in the 1960s and 1970s, there were reporters that could have worked in any medium: Bill Stout, Howard Gingold, Warren Olney, Stan Chambers and a handful of others. They cared about one thing: keeping the audience informed about subjects and stories that seldom made a TV newscast because they weren’t visual enough, stories about government in Sacramento and Los Angeles, stories about ecology and economics and business, stories you seldom see on any TV newscast nowadays.
I’ll miss Saul even though I only saw him occasionally at Bob Tarlau’s News Geezers lunches a few times a year. Even when greeting you and asking how you were, he sounded authoritative, he sounded as if every word had meaning and substance. He was a class act, the kind of journalist I tell my students about, the kind of journalist who made a difference.
A major regret is that I’d love to see him on a newscast reporting this year’s national elections. That would be something worth seeing and hearing.
- Joe Saltzman (from Facebook)
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It was my distinct pleasure to have Saul as a reporter for Channel 4 during my three years as news director. He covered government on a regular basis and really enjoyed the challenge of telling the viewers what was going and why it was important to their lives. This was during the 70's -- a difficult time in many areas of Southern California and his subjects and reports were not always popular with the audience, but he brought professionalism and dedication to them day after day after day.
Beyond that, he was a gentleman -- but was not unwilling to, on occasion, quietly tell me if he thought we were not going in the right direction or were overlooking something -- something that I found rare and welcome, even if it was uncomfortable at times. It was never personal -- always professional. Because, that is what Saul Halpert was -- a true professional journalist
- Bob Eaton
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It is, indeed, sad news to learn of Saul's passing. Although I never worked with him, his reputation stood tall in our industry, and I thoroughly enjoyed our occasional chats at Geezers events.
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So sorry to hear the news...there are fewer and fewer legends in the business.
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Bob, thanks for letting us know about this -- I loved Saul.
- Kelly Lange
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An old school great guy with an impressive career. As a young reporter at KNBC in the 80s I really looked up to him and admired his professionalism, style and thoroughness...he was interested in the story not in himself....
- Phil Shuman
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Bob, this is damn sad… just another reminder that all this “staying alive” business is very fleeting and we all better grab for the gusto in life…while we can…
also… a reminder that there were and are some tremendously talented folks in the news biz… and we’re all privileged to be a part of that family… a tremendous honor.
Blessings to Saul and his family…peace for Saul.
- Carl Stein
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Bob, thanks for letting me know about Saul Halpert. He was so kind to me when I came over from TV City in 1963 to join the Big News team. Saul became my go to person in the newsroom after I sought his guidance when I took dictation (yes, that far back!!) from the News Director and there was a word I didn't recognize.
He helped me on several occasions and never betrayed a confidence. Saul was a true journalist, covering day to day breaking news as well as investigative reporting.
Because I no longer live in Encino I can't attend the Geezers luncheon but wish you and everyone the best. I appreciate your sharing my thoughts about Saul.
- Best, Lorraine Hillman
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Very sorry to read this. Saul remains a legend. He served the citizens of LA through the medium of television, one of a select group who saw TV as a tool with the power to enrich lives. I join the long list of those who benefitted from his service by simply saying, Thank You.
- Mark Sudock
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We have lost one of LA’s all-time greats. Such tremendous talent. So sorry to hear this.
- Vance Scott
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Very sad news. Please convey my condolences to his family. He was one of the fixtures of LA journalism for so long. Definitely a stand-up guy.
- Linda Deutsch
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So sorry to hear the news about Saul. He was a fine man and what a talent!!! He will be missed, for sure!
- Les Goldberg
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I grew up watching Saul on the Big News. He was one of the first TV news reporters to bring real professionalism and competence to journalism on TV. He maintained that high standard throughout his long career. What a career!
- Gene Gleeson
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Saul stood head and shoulders above some of the best and toughest reporters in the business. He taught me how to quickly ferret out the crux of a story from endless wire copy. He was never too busy to reach out and offer a suggestion for improving a toss or beefing up a cut down. Through his guidance, helped me become a better writer and producer. Saul was a humble man when he easily- and deservedly-- could have been lofty. He treated me as a fellow colleague when I had not quite yet earned it- which I always will hold dear. He will be remembered fondly by those of us lucky enough to have worked in his giant shadow. I guess my biggest compliment to Saul is this-- he never missed a deadline!
- Andy Edmonds
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Thanks for letting me know about Saul. I wish I had had a chance to reconnect with him at one of the lunches. It's odd--even though I only met him that one time back in 1988, I always liked him very much. Through what I've learned about him from the videos and photos taken at the lunches during the times he attended, I feel as if I did indeed know him and cared about him.
- Shaun Chang (Washington DC)
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I didn’t know Saul, and I wasn’t in LA in the KNXT days, but he sounds like a treasure and I’m looking forward to some Saul stories at the next lunch.
-Hillary West (newest of the News Geezers)
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