Originally posted Friday, July 26, 2019 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Gloria Lane, known as the first female to anchor the local news on Atlanta TV, has died at age 77.
After about 15 years at WSB-TV in the 1960s and 1970s, she went on to launch the glossy, high-end Presenting the Season magazine, which she operated for nearly four decades.
In a Legacy obituary, her daughter Brett did not identify a cause of death.
Lane, a long-time Marietta resident, grew up in Rome and received a bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia. She joined WSB-TV out of school in 1963 as a secretary and trainee.
But she became one of the station’s first female reporters by 1965. UGA has online archives of her interviewing author Helen Gurley Brown in 1964 about Brown’s best seller “Sex and the Single Girl,” an advice book advocating women to be financially free from men and to have sexual experiences before marriage.
“She was sort of like Mary Tyler Moore in the newsroom,” said John Pruitt, retired WSB-TV anchor who came to WSB-TV himself in 1964, a year after Lane. “We had a very small newsroom back then. It was a band of brothers and a sister.”
Pruitt said Lane was smart, bubbly and worked well with guys. “She had everyone wrapped around her finger,” he said. “She was a can-do person who always wanted to do more. She could shoot film with a little Bell and Howell camera. And she knew how to write for television. In the early days, a lot of former newspaper men tried to write for TV but it would come out long and complicated. She was good at getting to the point.”
She became WSB-TV’s very first female anchor, eventually doing noon and weekends. Originally Gloria Crowe, she was known as Gloria Lane after marrying Ed Lane, who did real estate and publishing. (They later divorced and he died in Lexington, KY in 2016.)
Lane co-anchored the Salute to America parade for six years and covered the legislature for six years. She also covered Gov. Lester Maddox.
She was also the go-to person to interview celebrities who visited Atlanta, including Zsa Zsa Gabor, Burt Reynolds, Dean Martin, Lucille Ball, Robert Redford and Natalie Wood, according to her resume provided by her daughter Brett.
When Jocelyn Dorsey arrived as the station’s second black female reporter in 1973, she said Lane embraced her. “I instantly felt a comfort zone with her,” said Dorsey, who retired from WSB-TV last year. “She was very nurturing.”
Pruitt and Lane co-anchored from the Georgia World Congress Center the night Georgia native Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976. “She was eminently professional and extremely competitive,” Pruitt said.
She left WSB-TV after having her daughter Brett in the late 1970s. That’s when she came up with the idea of Presenting the Season magazine, which sprouted from all her work chairing fundraising events. She launched the magazine in 1981 highlighting fundraisers and charity events and the Buckhead social scene. She forged deep ties in that world.
“She was nice to everyone she met or worked with. Unfailingly nice,” said Susan Tucker, who has known her on a professional level for years and is a public relations specialist. “She was creative and very much in the know of what was happening in the world. I remember when she put Beyoncé on the cover of Presenting the Season magazine at a time very few people even knew who Beyoncé was.”
Tad Hutcheson, as former VP for marketing and sales for AirTran Airways, said he used to buy ads in her magazine.
“Gloria Lane really knew the Atlanta community and knew how to build brands and weave them into the fabric of the city – especially in the nonprofit and social realms. More than anyone, she knew how to extend a brand to the influencers in the community,” Hutcheson said.
Brett wrote in her Legacy obituary that “Season magazine gave her a vehicle to help shine a spotlight on the people and companies doing good work in the city of Atlanta in a way no one else had thought of in our city at the time.”
When Dorsey became WSB-TV’s head of community affairs, she used Season magazine as a way to keep track of upcoming events. “Everyone wanted to be in the magazine,” she said.
“She was class,” said David Danzig, who wrote restaurant reviews for Season magazine from 2010 until it folded in 2018. “She was just a warm gentile lady.”
She is survived by her daughter Brett. There will be a memorial service at a later date.
Here is a photo gallery of Lane through the years:
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