One of the Fox News Channel’s original anchors, Uma Pemmaraju, has died at the age of 64. No cause of death has been made public at this time.
Pemmaraju was seated at the anchor’s desk when the network went live on October 7, 1996, and was one of the only Indian-American news anchors to attain national prominence at the time.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Uma Pemmaraju, who was one of FOX News Channel’s founding anchors and was on the air the day we launched. Uma was an incredibly talented journalist as well as a warm and lovely person, best known for her kindness to everyone she worked with. We extend our heartfelt condolences to her entire family,” FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said.
Pemmaraju’s first role at the network was as an anchor for “Fox News Now” and “Fox On Trends.” She left the channel briefly but returned in 2003 as a weekend and substitute host for various shows. Additionally, she hosted the Sunday edition of “FOX News Live” and anchored “The Fox Report.”
Throughout her tenure, she interviewed a menagerie of celebrities and politicians including a high-profile interview with the Dalai Lama.
She was born in Rajahmundry, India, but was raised in San Antonio, Texas, her family having moved there when she was six years old. She developed her craft working at local news outlets in Dallas, Baltimore and WBZ-TV in Boston before eventually relocating to New York to help launch the Fox News Channel.
Her family described her as a “noble soul and pioneer” to WBZ-TV’s David Wade.
Another sad passing for WBZ.
Former Channel 4 anchor and reporter Uma Pemmaraju has passed away.
After leaving WBZ, she went on to be a national news anchor.
Her family tells me she was a “noble soul and pioneer” as an Indian Asian American news woman of prominence. #WBZ pic.twitter.com/FrW7o17p2A
— David Wade (@davidwade) August 8, 2022
Pemmaraju was named “Boston’s Best Anchor” in 1996 and 1997 by Boston Magazine and garnered several Emmy Awards throughout her career for reporting and investigative journalism. Spotlight Magazine named her one of their “20 Intriguing Women of 1998,” and her further accolades include winning the Texas AP award for reporting in 2002, the Woman of Achievement award from the Big Sisters Organization of America, and the Matrix Award from Women in Communications.
She was also a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News and taught journalism at Emerson College and Harvard University after earning her degree in political science from Trinity University in Texas.
In a 1993 interview with the Boston Globe, Pemmaraju said she preferred to focus her work on helping the disenfranchised.
“I’m a conduit to help other people,” she said. “I don’t want to sound too sentimental. But that’s what I’m about. I want to use my celebrity to help people, to help bring about something that needs to be done.”
A particularly memorable experience from her WBZ-TV career came unexpectedly while on location preparing for a shoot of a feature story for “Evening Magazine.” While filming at Star Market in Brighton, Mass., the store was robbed by two masked men.
“I’ve been sent out to crime locations before, but this was the first time one came to me,” she told the Globe at the time.
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