Former Philadelphia Anchor Lee McCarthy Dies at 71

By Kevin Eck 

Lee McCarthy, known in Philadelphia as the face of the local FOX affiliate’s newscast in the 80’s, has died at 71.

Born Joseph Lee McCarthy, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, he was an NBC correspondent before coming to Philadelphia in 1986 to launch the WTAF 10:00 p.m. newscast alongside Jill Chernekoff. WTAF was renamed WTXF in 1988.

He told Gail Shister, when she was with The Inquirer, “There was an energy and excitement here that I didn’t feel at NBC when I left It’s a new challenge.” Click here to read Shister’s 1986 article.

Mr. McCarthy grew up in a household that tuned to the Huntley-Brinkley Report each night, and he always wanted to be an NBC correspondent, Shister wrote. After graduating from Notre Dame University in 1965, he began his career at Youngstown’s WYTV-TV as anchor, reporter and news director.

In 1967, he joined Washington’s WTOP, reporting on traffic in the morning and news in the afternoon, Shister wrote. After a series of job changes, Mr. McCarthy got his big break as a network correspondent. He covered the Portuguese Revolution in 1975; Israel and Egypt; Pope John Paul II, and then-Vice President George H.W. Bush’s trip to Europe.

Mr. McCarthy won Emmy awards for his coverage of carcinogens in local drinking water and spot-news coverage of a sinking fishing boat off Nova Scotia.

After retiring from network broadcasting in 1993, Mr. McCarthy taught broadcast journalism at Villanova University for 12 years, and in 2006 received a master’s degree in liberal arts from Villanova.