Obituary: Bill Smith

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Bill Smith

Bill Smith lost his battle with Alzheimers disease on Sunday, July 9.  He is survived by his wife Karen Samson Smith, his son Jake, brother Dr. Robert L. Smith and family.

Bill was an Army brat growing up. His family lived in Japan, Germany, Michigan, Florida, New York and Los Angeles.  He spent the last 31 years here in the Malibu area.

In broadcasting, one rarely has the talent to “do it all.”  Bill was such a talent.  Beginning as a reporter for the Sunland-Tujunga Record Ledger, KGIL Radio beckoned in the ’60s, where he was made promotions and publicity director, as well as producer of Dick Whittington’s popular morning show.  An excellent pilot, Bill also reported on news and traffic, soon becoming station news director.  His quick wit led Bill to KABC as the fill-in anchor for the Ken and Bob Show, which led to his teaming with Wink Martindale for a highly rated afternoon drive-talk show.  Television news proved a natural for Bill Smith, first at KTTV as a field reporter, then midday anchor with Nancy Nelson. At night, he co-wrote, produced and co-anchored Metro News-Metro News with Chuck Ashman.  Additionally, Bill was with KNXT, followed by 13 years as a field reporter for KTLA.  His boss Jeff Wald said, “Bill Smith was simply the best.” Bill received Golden Mike Awards from the Radio and Television News Assn., the Greater Los Angeles Press Club Award, and Los Angeles area Emmy Awards, while at KTTV and KTLA for best news reporting.  In 2016, he received the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Diamond Circle Award.  

“Bill Smith will be greatly missed by all those whose lives he touched throughout the years,” a loved one said.

A celebration of his life and memory is currently being planned.  Funeral services were held on Thursday, July 13.

Please support Alzheimers research in Bill’s memory: Alzheimers Greater Los Angeles – 4221 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 400 Los Angeles, CA 90010 323.930.6287 or alzgla.org