One of the nicest, classiest, kindest men is now gracing and entertaining the angels tonight with the thousands of wonderful stories he gathered while covering the comings and goings of Los Angeles. Stan Chambers – KTLA’s Los Angeles news icon of many, many years passed away this morning at 10:30 am.He was 91.
It sounds dramatic to say that the world is a little less bright without Stan’s stellar smile and gentle laugh, but Stan was the exception to the world of newsies, who are often immune to the havoc they wreak in search of a story. Stan never went with a story until he had all the facts in hand, and everyone knew it. It’s why when a story was breaking, like the Rodney King beating, Stan was invariably the one to get the scoop – because everyone trusted him.
Stan cut his teeth in 1947 with the famous Kathy Fiscus story – the little girl who fell down the well. Stan stayed at the scene for 24 ground-breaking hours to report on the rescue attempt.
Virtually every amazing story that’s happened in Los Angeles, Stan was there, strong and steady. I remember him when I was a kid, during the Watts riots, scared half out of my mind (not realizing I didn’t live near Watts), but seeing Stan, with mic in hand, reporting in his calm, gentle voice, he made me feel that everything would be okay. He writes about this in great detail in his wonderful book, LA Times Bestseller, KTLA’s News at 10: Sixty Years With Stan Chambers, among other fascinating stories.
From that time on, I always watched for Stan on the news, because I knew if Stan said it, it must be true. Later, when I had the huge honor of publishing his book, I knew my faith in him as a kid hadn’t been for naught. He was the real deal, and we loved working with him.
He was always a gentleman, adhering proudly to a time gone by where gentlemen opened doors for ladies, and stood when a woman entered the room. He insisted on paying for our business lunches at Paramount Studios when we came to the studio during book production. Would. Not. Hear. Of. Letting. Us. Pay.
We had the immense pleasure of meeting his wonderful, supportive family and attending his many book events…and he was a huge hit at the BEA when it was held in LA. Hundreds of people patiently stood in line to shake his hand and receive an autographed copy of News at 10. Through it all, his gracious smile never wavered – and he was not a young man.
There was never any event Stan wasn’t willing to do. I remember sharing Stan at the LA Festival of Books with the KTLA booth. He’d sign a billion books over there, then come over to our booth and sign a billion more…all under a 90 sun…and he was wearing his classic sweater and tan coat! And never broke a sweat.
There are so many great memories we have of producing Stan’s wonderful book, which is a wonderful journey about a much more innocent time, when TV news was in its infancy, and Stan was there for it all. We were so fortunate to have him regale us with incredible, hysterical stories. I urge you to pick up a copy of Stan’s lovely book. It’s a walk through TV news history, a personal up close, behind-the-scenes view of what it’s like to capture ground-breaking stories while retaining a sense of honor and respect…and it’s all through the eyes of a very special, lovely man. As I’ve often said, Stan vibrated at a different frequency, and we always enjoyed being around this wonderful walking history book.
The Behler Publications team extends their love and sympathies to the Chambers family. Stan, we’ll never forget you and your kindness. Godspeed, my friend.