Kelly Lange (born Dorothy Scafard; December 14, 1937) is an American journalist, most notable for being the first woman to be a nightly news anchor in Los Angeles. Lange, a Shakespeare major in college, is a longtime news anchor in Los Angeles, a veteran radio and TV news reporter, NBC talk show host, former Tournament of Roses parade co-host, and more recently a best-selling mystery author.
Lange was born in New York City and graduated from Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts.
She moved to California in the mid-1960s to pursue a certification to be a school teacher.
One day in 1967, Lange, a model at the time, got into a line at a Buena Park, California shopping mall, because it appeared "they were giving something away." The something they were giving away turned out to be applications for two positions as "Ladybirds" on KABC 790 radio. The lucky duo would become the first female traffic/weather reporters in this area to patrol in helicopters. Lange was one of two chosen. She got the 6 a.m.-to-9 a.m. segment and she was called "Dawn O'Day." Another applicant, a film studio secretary named Lori Ross, got the afternoon shift as "Eve O'Day." "The two women in their tight-fitting, silver-lamé jumpsuits paved the way for today's less-exploited women deejays and announcers," thus began Kelly Lange's career as a news reporter, spotting news and reporting traffic for KABC, later joining KNBC-4 in 1971. NBC News refers to Lange as the first woman to anchor a nightly newscast at an NBC-owned station. TV Guide said Lange was the first local newscaster to be paid $1 million per year.
Lange served as Rose Parade co-host with Michael Landon; was the regular guest host of Tomorrow, with Tom Snyder; and a regular guest host of NBC's Today show. In Southern California, she served as co-anchor for nightly newscasts at KNBC-TV from 1971-1999. She hosted the Grand Floral Parade of Portland Rose Festival and won several Emmy Awards as well as serving as host of the primetime network broadcast ceremony. She began writing fiction and mysteries while still a news anchor, partially to relieve insomnia from working on the 11 pm newscast. After a two-year talk show stint with KCBS-TV, she left broadcasting and has since been a full-time mystery novelist. The popular mystery fiction books include The Reporter, Dead File, and Graveyard Shift, featuring fictional TV news anchor Maxi Poole, plus Trophy Wife and Gossip.
In 2010, Lange was presented with the Golden Mike's Lifetime Achievement Award by the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California.
She was married to film director William Friedkin (1987-1990) and has one daughter.
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