Chicago TV Icon Merri Dee Hospitalized

By Andrew Gauthier 

Merri Dee, who spent nearly 40 years with Chicago’s WGN before stepping away in 2008, was hospitalized over the weekend after she fell ill while speaking at a local church.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Dee, 74, was in stable condition when she arrived at the hospital Friday night. She underwent a series of tests on Saturday.

Dee was a fixture on Chicago TV in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, working as a reporter and anchor for WGN. She later served as the Tribune station’s director of community relations.


Dee, who Chicagoist once called “one of the strongest women you’ll ever meet,” has overcome a remarkable amount of hardship in her life.

Her mother died at a young age and her stepmother later sent her to an orphanage, refusing to acknowledge her as part of the family. In 1971, while Dee was hosting a local talk, she and a guest were kidnapped at gunpoint while leaving the studio. The kidnapper eventually shot Dee twice in the head and left her to die in a wooded area. Miraculously, she managed to crawl to a nearby road where someone stopped to help her.