Ruben Cruz was the pastor of First Spanish Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) since 1964, the oldest Spanish speaking protestant congregation in the City of Chicago. His television career included producing and hosting shows on WMAQ-TV, Channel 7, WCIU-TV and FOX Chicago. He wrote the first bilingual news column in a major U.S. newspaper, the Chicago Sun-times. He received a local Emmy® Award for his coverage of the Hispanic community.
He always said God’s purpose for him was to be an “agent of social change,” and this was evident in the life he lived. To name all of the campaigns and community organizations that Ruben worked with would take several pages, but he was very proud of his lifetime appointment to the Lincoln Academy and his work with the Chicago Latino Pastors Coalition. He passed away in 2021.
Fran Harris-Tuchman began her broadcasting career in 1942 as a member of the pioneering all-female group known as the Women's Auxiliary Television Technical Staff (WATTS). The WATTS kept WBKB-TV (now WLS) in Chicago on the air for the duration of WWII, as the majority of the station's male staff were overseas.
Later, Harris-Tuchman would go on to become the first woman to head the television division of a major advertising agency, when she founded the TV department of Ruthrauff & Ryan in Chicago. She also founded her own highly successful ad firm, Harris-Tuchman Productions. Her firm produced commercials for Starkist Foods and Mattel, including the first TV ads for the Barbie doll in 1959.
Bill Heitz helped teach amateur antique enthusiasts about auction etiquette for Home & Garden Television, won Emmy® awards while producing Sunday night specials for NBC, and was once tear-gassed while directing coverage of the 1968 Democratic Convention. He ran his own video production firm since the early-1980s.
It was something of a storybook life, he said at an alumni reunion for WGBH-TV in Boston, where he began his television career began in 1957.
During his career, Mr. Heitz directed documentaries on everything from softball tournaments to classical music performances, becoming a sort of Renaissance man with a formidable intellect and contagious chuckle, said his longtime friend Jack Wilson, his business partner since 1998. He was a native of Clarksburg, W. Va., who grew up in Chicago. He studied theater and journalism at Marquette University before graduating there in 1957.
In the mid-1960s, he was a producer/director at NBC, a position he held when he was maced during street demonstrations outside of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. His tenure at NBC likewise included a number of prime-time specials he produced and directed, including Royko at His Best, Dateline: Chicago, Sorting it Out, and a series Emmy® Award-winning Sunday Night Specials. He left NBC for WTTW-Ch. 11 in 1975 to produce and direct the national pop music series Soundstage, as well as the public television child-development series Look at Me.
After forming his own production company, he had created a number of business management and educational videos, returning to television work in 1996 with At the Auction, a program for antiques collectors he directed for HGTV.
Mr. Heitz died in 2002.
Robert (Bob Lewandowski) arrived in New York in 1951. While there he was freelancing in Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.
The following year Bob was working on the Polish American Radio Varieties Program emanating from WJLB in Detroit. From his arrival in Chicago in 1953 he worked as a radio personality and producer of Polish language radio over the Chicago radio stations-WHGC, WTAQ, and WSBC. In addition, he was active as a director and an actor for the Polish Language Theater “Nasza Reduta.”
In June 1957 Bob joined ABC Television Network (WBKB TV & WLS TV) in Chicago and for the next 10 years he was singing-MC of the ABC TV Network program “Polka Go Round,” Producer and master of ceremonies of Press International (weekly presentation) and many specials.
In addition, since 1967 Bob was a producer and personality of the first Polish language television show outside of Poland broadcast weekly over WCIU TV channel 26 and channel 23 in Chicago.
In addition to his professional activities, Bob should be accredited with many social activities. With the cooperation of the Polish American Congress in Chicago, he succeeded in raising funds through his radio and TV presentations money for many causes.
Bob Lewandowski was nominated by the President of The Polish American Congress as National Director at Large in 1990. Mr. Lewandowski passed away in 2006.
Born November 26, 1940, in Memphis, Tennessee, Bob Petty began his broadcasting career while enrolled at Arizona State University. He learned about various aspects of the industry while serving as news cameraman, soundman, film editor, lighting director and studio cameraman for the university's television broadcast station, KAET TV. In 1970, Petty graduated with honors and was recognized by the university for his outstanding contributions to the radio and television department.
Petty's career at Chicago ABC affiliate WLS-TV began in 1971, when he joined the station as a general assignment reporter. In 1975, he became a member of the station's "Action 7" news team, which would later develop into the popular "Seven on Your Side" special problem-solving unit. He then moved to the anchor desk on ABC 7's "Saturday Weekend News." From 1978 to 1983 he also produced and hosted "Weekend Edition." Prior to joining ABC 7, Petty was a news writer, reporter and producer at KOOL-TV and Radio, the CBS affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona. The previous year, Petty worked for KPHO-TV in several aspects of the production process, in addition to his role as news and sports reporter.
Petty has received several prestigious academic degrees and honors. He was awarded an Urban Journalism Fellowship at the University of Chicago shortly after graduating from Arizona State, and a William Benton Fellow in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Chicago in 1987. In January 1979, he received his Master's Degree in Communications from Governor's State University.
Bob passed away on February 18, 2020.
Jim Ruddle rejoined WMAQ-TV in May, 1978, following a tour with NBC News as a network correspondent. He served as a general assignment reporter and co-anchor on NewsCenter5’s 6:00 Report.
He has received several Chicago Emmy® Awards for both general news reporting and investigative reporting. “Strip and Search,” which he reported with WMAQ-TV’s UNIT5, won a Peabody Award for investigative journalism.
Ruddle began his broadcasting career as a play-by-play baseball announcer for a small Kansas radio station. He enlisted for a three year term in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he served as a radio operator. On leaving the service, he returned to his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and began working in television news at KOTV-TV. Later, he worked for a Mexican radio station and for radio and televisions in Albuquerque, New Mexico, while attending graduate school at the University of New Mexico.
He was co-anchor of the early evening news at WTVT-TV in Tampa, Florida from 1963-1965, while also teaching American Studies at the University of South Florida.
Ruddle came to Chicago in 1965, as co-anchor of the early and late evening newscasts at WGN-TV and he remained there until 1967, when he first came to WMAQ-TV as a reporter. Shortly thereafter, he became the anchor of the Midnight Report, and then the 5:00 News, which he anchored until he left WMAQ-TV in 1975.
A past president of the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Ruddle is a member of several professional journalistic and academic organizations.
Ron Weiner worked as a television director for more than four decades. Weiner worked on many classics that TV fans grew up with, such as Garfield Goose and Friends and Bozos Circus, as well as other well-known shows, including Geraldo and the Jenny Jones Show. Most notably, Weiner directed Donahue for the 11 years it was taped in Chicago and won three national Emmy® Awards for his work.
He graduated from Columbia College and served in the Navy.