Reporter Tony Valdez, a fixture in Los Angeles TV news for over four decades, has passed away. He was 78.
He died of kidney failure on May 5.
Tributes and photographs with the legendary newsman, mentor and friend to many journalists in the business have poured on social media. KTTV-11 remembered Tony’s legacy as a longtime reporter, weekend anchor and host of the station’s Midday Sunday and LA’s Most Wanted long-running crime series.
I was among the many people who got to know and work with Tony at KTTV, where he spent 35 years.
When Tony retired in 2016, and I reached out to him to write about his departure from news, he wrote to me:
“I started reporting at KTLA about 40 years ago without any fanfare and I am ending at KTTV amid fanfare I did not want…this moment in my life has gotten way too much attention.”
But he deserved that attention. He was one of the first Latinos to become an on-air reporter in Los Angeles and one of the most recognized and respected journalists in the industry, whose longevity in the market – and his hometown – is a testament to his work.
Prior to KTLA, he also worked for KCET, La Opinión and the Los Angeles Herald-Express.
As he shared thoughts about wrapping up his TV life almost seven years ago, Tony, a US Army veteran who served during the Vietnam war, brought up a memory from his childhood that he felt related to his own retirement:
“When I was a boy, I was listening on the radio when General Douglas MacArthur ended his famous retirement speech with the words ‘old soldiers – and I’m an Army veteran – never die, they just fade away.'”
Those who knew Tony will most likely disagree that he will.