Merri Dee Passed Away At The Age Of 85

Merri Dee is a well-known Chicago broadcaster who died recently at the age of 85. According to her relatives, she died quietly in her sleep overnight. They released the following statement:

“Our family mourns the loss of our beloved matriarch, Merri Dee, the greatest light in our lives, who died quietly in her sleep at home.” As you may understand, our family is devastated and requests privacy at this time.”

Her website has been updated with details regarding her funeral and memorial service, which are likely to take place in the following days.

All About Merri Dee

She was born Mary Francine Dorham and graduated from Englewood Technical Prep Academy in 1955. She relocated to New Orleans to study business administration at Xavier University. Moreover, she skipped college to support her siblings and worked as an IBM salesman. She landed her first presenting gig at radio station WBEE. She soon became a local radio personality and began presenting an entertainment show on WCIU in 1968. In 1971, she hosted The Merri Dee Show on the independent channel WSNS.

Merri Dee

In 1972, she became an anchor for WGN-10:00 TV’s p.m. newscast, and she worked at the radio station for eleven years in various on-air capacities. Similarly, in 1984, she was promoted to an off-air role as the station’s director of community development and manager of WGN-TV Children’s Charities. Following her departure in 2008, she was instrumental in raising $31 million in contributions to the station’s charitable efforts. She served on the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Women for the City of Chicago and on the volunteer Executive Council of the AARP Illinois chapter. She was then elected as the AARP State President.

Merri was instrumental in the creation of the country’s Victims’ Bill of Rights in 1992, and she launched the Chicago-based initiative Athletes for a Better Education. She hosted the United Negro College Fund’s Evening of Stars fundraiser on television and created The Waiting Child, an on-air program for WGN-TV.

Lewis University bestowed upon her an honorary Doctorate of Humanities in 2000, while the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences bestowed upon her the Silver Circle Award the following year. In 2003, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Illinois’ Center for Women, and in 2004, she received the President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund. Dee was a member of the executive boards of Ronald McDonald House Charities, Junior Achievement Worldwide, the Associated Colleges of Illinois, The National College Summit, and the Illinois State Attorney’s Council on Violence.

Merri Dee

Survivor of a 1971 terrorist assault

On July 17, 1971, Merri and her show’s guest, Alan Sandler, were abducted. The latter was shot and died as a result. Samuel Drew approached the couple when they returned to the WSNS-TV studios after supper. Drew forced Dee to drive to a lonely location where he shot them twice in the back of the head, tossed them out of the vehicle, and drove away. Merri crept to the roadway, where she was found and sent to the hospital. After seeing her wounds, doctors did not believe she would live.

Twitter users give their respects.

Merri Dee’s name was familiar to everyone as a well-known journalist. When news of her death broke, many took to Twitter to express their sorrow:

Her husband, Nicolas Fulop, and their two children, Toya Monet and Attorney Richard H. Wright, survive her.

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