BOSTON (CBS) – Liz Walker and Jack Williams were longtime co-anchors at WBZ-TV.
With Williams stepping down from his full-time anchor duties after 39 years with the station, Walker looked back fondly on an era she described as “magical.”
Photos: Jack Williams Through The Years
Walker was part of a news team beginning in the 1980’s that included Williams, sports anchor Bob Lobel, entertainment reporter Joyce Kulhawik and meteorologist Bruce Schwoegler.
She remembered it as a time when the stars were lined up to form a team with exceptional chemistry.
“Nobody took themselves that seriously,” Walker recalled. “We certainly took our jobs seriously but we liked each other and we respected each other, so it was fun.”
It was the personalities involved that made coming to the station every day not like work, she noted, even in a highly competitive news industry that could be “very exciting and crazy and maddening and sad.”
And Jack Williams knows how to make work fun.
“I don’t know if that comes out on TV very often but he is a hoot,” Walker said with a laugh. “If you have not seen him be funny then you have missed a lot.”
While the team was serious about their work, it didn’t stop Williams and Lobel from trying to make her laugh on camera.
“Jack could do it and then deadpan. He was a pro at it,” Walker said. “He’d say the craziest thing and you’re left hanging out there and he goes on.”
After his almost 40 years in Boston, Walker said, Williams leaves with an institutional knowledge of the city, the region and the country. But perhaps harder to replace, is the trust he developed with viewers over the years.
“New Englanders grow to trust,” Walker observed. “Trust is not something you just get because you sit down on the television in front of the camera.”
“You know Jack Williams. You’ve grown up with him. You know who he was. You know who he is,” she said. “So you can trust what he has to say and I think that’s important in television.”
Some of that trust may be attributed to Williams’ dedication to the Boston community. That dedication is exemplified by his involvement with Wednesday’s Child, the program that works to increase public awareness and find homes for children with special needs waiting for adoptive families.
“I think that Jack made Wednesday’s Child what it is,” said Walker, remarking that he changed lives one person at a time.
“He got engaged in the children and personally involved in the young people and so they became his children. They really did,” she said.
When Walker came to WBZ she was new in Boston at a time when outsiders were not always welcomed with open arms.
“I was terrified when I first came here and there were so many different things that were happening,” she recalled. “The city was still reeling from busing and there were just a lot of things going on, even being a reporter out in the community.”
She remembers Williams and Lobel playing a big part in making her feel comfortable.
“We had good times. We were friends. I could always count on Jack and I could count on Bob. They were more than professional partners.”
Thinking back on her many memories of working with Williams, Walker said she will always remember one piece of advice: “If you’re going to be big, be big. If you’re going to be a star, then be a star all the way on the inside,” she recalled him saying.
“And that’s the kind of man he is.”
Watch: Liz Walker’s Message For Jack Williams
Watch: Liz Walker’s Message For Jack Williams – Part 2
MORE LOCAL NEWS FROM CBS BOSTON