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 Ken Jones

Ken Jones

Original Name Kenneth
Birth
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 13 May 1993 (aged 54)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Pineview, Lot 932, Grave E
Memorial ID 5268 · View Source
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Emmy Award-winning Televison Journalist, Publisher. He was Los Angeles' first African-American TV anchorman. A Los Angeles native, Jones showed an early interest in journalism and at age 16 was hired to cover high school sports by the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. He worked as a disc jockey and news producer for several radio stations, was a production assistant for the West Coast edition of the "Huntley-Brinkley Report" from 1963 to 1965, and regular newscaster for KRLA radio (1965 to 1967). His intelligent reportage (particularly of the 1965 Watts riots), along with an authoritative voice and presence, helped him overcome color barriers. In 1967 Jones was hired by KTTV-TV (Channel 11) in Los Angeles as chief anchor and feature reporter for its daily news program, a move that would open doors for many black journalists in the country. Among the stories he covered were the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, the Manson Family murders, and the Roman Polanski statutory rape case; he won an Emmy for a one-hour news special about health care practices. His high visibility was noted by the entertainment industry and he played small roles in the films "The Seven Minutes" (1971) and "The Candidate" (1972), and appeared on the TV shows "The Brady Bunch", "The Odd Couple", "McMillan & Wife", and "Police Woman". In 1976 KTTV let Jones go after slashing its news program from an hour to 30 minutes, and he became a reporter and weekend anchor on the Channel 2 News for CBS affiliate KNXT (now KCBS). Jones was also very active in print media. Eager to serve the African-American community, he co-founded (with his wife Regina Nickerson) the black entertainment newsmagazine "SOUL" in 1966, and the weekly newspaper "The Los Angeles Spirit" in 1978. In 1979 he formed a partnership with radio station KIIS to create "KIIS The Newspaper", which was aimed at a broader audience. These ambitions would lead to his downfall. "The Spirit" failed within a year, leaving Jones $150,000 in debt and endangering continued publication of "SOUL"; "KIIS The Newspaper" was better funded but not the cash cow he hoped would rescue him. In March 1981, a Los Angeles-area bank publicly accused Jones of check kiting (illegally manipulating funds between financial institutions) to the tune of $184,000. "It was the day Walter Cronkite resigned, and I was the lead story", he recalled. "It was like watching my own obituary". CBS dropped him immediately. Convicted of the charges, Jones served four months in a County work-furlough program and was ordered to make restitution. "SOUL" magazine folded in 1982, and after the scandal no news outlet in Los Angeles would hire him. His last TV appearance was a cameo as a reporter on an episode of "Matt Houston" (1983). He ended his career in obscurity, hosting a medical program on local radio. Jones died of bladder cancer at 54. He was buried with his father at Inglewood Park Cemetery.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 30 Apr 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5268
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ken Jones (9 Jun 1938–13 May 1993), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5268, citing Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .