Monday, October 27, 2008

Dorothy Fuldheim

Many women have followed in Dorothy Fuldheim's footsteps. But no one has filled her shoes.

She was the first woman to anchor a newscast in the U.S., broadcasting her opinions across WEWS airwaves when women had just barely gained the right to express their views in the voting booth.

A fiery redhead who interviewed kings, presidents and celebrities, she spoke with equal ease and grace to the local farmer or the adoring listener.

For 37 uninterrupted years, Fuldheim was the nation's only female news analyst, a public figure in high demand who did not even begin her broadcasting career until age 54. Fuldheim remained on the air until 1984, just past her 91st birthday.

And those later years were not idle. At age 88, Cleveland's most popular television personage traveled to London to cover Prince Charles' wedding, then straight to Cairo for Sadat's funeral, followed by a stop in Ireland to interview the mother of IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands.

Known for flamboyance, fashion and rare genius, Dorothy Fuldheim preceded a generation of female broadcasters who have yet to match her achievements, but can gain confidence through her success.