BOSTON (CBS) – The world of TV News has lost a broadcast legend. Beloved former WBZ-TV newsman Tony Pepper died on Tuesday, April 3. He was 79 years old.
Pepper anchored at WBZ in the 1970s and early 80s. He was first paired with Tom Ellis, and later with Jack Williams. Pepper and Williams quickly became a favorite pairing for Boston television audiences.
WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields worked with Pepper in the newsroom. “Tony was not a newsreader, he was a real journalist,” said Shields.
“He sat in the newsroom every day, he knew everything that was going on,” Shields continued. “You’d come back in from some story, he’d question you about the story, and then he’d inevitably come up with some one-liner about your story that made everyone in the newsroom laugh.”
Before joining WBZ-TV, Tony Pepper served in the U.S. Navy and worked in television in Sacramento and Denver. Pepper left television in the early 80s, lending his wit to WRKO morning radio.
“He was a wonderful person. He was a brilliant journalist – a kind and giving man,” his wife Dorothy Butler said.
The closing line of a Tony Pepper promotional ad from the late 70s echoed that sentiment, “Tony cares about people.”
“Tony was a wonderful person and a passionate anchor who was a large part of WBZ-TV’s efforts in serving the community,” WBZ-TV General Manager Mark Lund said. “Our hearts and prayers are with the Pepper family during this difficult time.”
Pepper was still living in the Boston area. He died after complications from diabetes and heart disease.
A celebration of Tony Pepper’s life will be held on April 21 at 2 p.m., at Brelundi Ristorane in Waltham.