BOSTON, MA (WBZ NewsRadio) — WBZ NewsRadio is deeply saddened to report the passing of our legendary morning news anchor and member of the WBZ Hall of Fame, Gary LaPierre at the age of 76.
He passed away peacefully on Monday at home on the north shore, surrounded by his loving family. He was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
For almost 44 years LaPierre’s calm and steady voice prepared New Englanders for the day ahead. He told adults the solemn truths of our world and delighted children by reading the name of their town during the WBZ Storm Center school closing reports. LaPierre started out in the mail room of WBZ in the 1960’s and worked as a general assignment reporter before moving into the anchor booth.
“I am deeply saddened by this news,” Bill Flaherty, Director of Operations at WBZ NewsRadio said “If you were looking to work hard and also have lots of fun, Gary was the guy you need to be with. My heart goes out to his wife Peg and his family.”
Peter Casey, WBZ NewsRadio’s former Program Director who worked with LaPierre for two decades, remembered him as a man of heart and compassion, “He was the perfect person to be the voice of WBZ and news radio for New England. His presence on the air, in the newsroom, and in our lives was huge… He could not have had a better partner than his wife Peg, and he always spoke glowingly about his boys Mike and Dean and their families.”
One of his first assignments for WBZ in the early 1960s saw LaPierre travel with The Beatles for a leg of their first US tour. He was stuck at WBZ’s studios for five days broadcasting, at times by candlelight, throughout the Blizzard of ‘78. He traveled to Germany twice to cover the American hostage releases from Iran in the early 1980s, he was at every national political convention from ’68 to ’04, and he interviewed every president from Lyndon Johnson to George W Bush. For a time, LaPierre also anchored television news broadcasts on WBZ-TV.
LaPierre was born in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts and graduated from Grahm Junior College and attended the University of New Hampshire and Boston University. He received an honorary doctorate from Emerson College in 1998.
Among his numerous achievements include LaPierre’s induction to the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame , Associated Press, Radio-Television News Director Association (RTNDA) Awards, the national 1998 Edward R. Murrow award for Best Radio Newscast, and he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the March of Dimes Achievement in Radio Organization in 1997.
In 1986 he received the Gold Award for Best Newsman of the Year at the International Radio Festival in New York City.