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Tom Ellis, Legendary Boston TV News Anchor, Dies At 86

BOSTON (CBS) - Tom Ellis, a legend of broadcast journalism in Boston, has died at the age of 86.

Ellis is the only person to have anchored top-rated television newscasts at each of Boston's network affiliates in the 1960's, 70's and 80's.

tom ellis
Tom Ellis was the solo anchor of WBZ-TV news from 1968 to 1974. (WBZ-TV)

According to his biography at the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Ellis began his career in Texas before coming to Boston in 1968. He was the solo anchor of the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts at WBZ-TV from 1968 to 1974, when he was then paired with Tony Pepper for what was called the "Ellis-Pepper Bandwagon."

"Tom was a legendary anchor, who started his Boston career at WBZ-TV.  He had a great impact on the station and our community," said Mark Lund, WBZ-TV President and General Manager. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the Ellis family."

Ellis later moved to WCVB where he co-anchored with Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobson from 1978 to 1982. He later co-anchored newscasts with Robin Young and Diane Willis at WNEV (now WHDH) from 1982 until 1987.

Tom Ellis
Former WBZ-TV anchor Tom Ellis (WBZ-TV)

Younger viewers might best remember him for his many years in the anchor chair at New England Cable News, where he worked weekends from 1994 to 2009.

"I'm lucky because I've had such an exceptionally long career," he said in a 2009 interview with WGBH. "I just loved going in and communicating with people out there, connecting with the viewers."

In addition to mentoring many journalists in his 40-plus years in Boston, Ellis was also in three movies - Marathon Man as a television anchor in 1976, 29th Street as a newscaster in 1991 and True Colors as an FBI agent, also in 1991.

Ellis leaves behind his wife Arlene, of East Sandwich, daughters Terri and Kathy, son Thomas, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

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