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Legendary news anchor Jim Vance dies at 75

Vance delivered news in nation's capital for more than 45 years

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WASHINGTON – Jim Vance, a longtime news anchor in the nation's capital, died Saturday at age 75, WRC-TV reported.

Beginning his journey with News4 in 1969, Vance spent more than 45 years at the NBC station in Washington, D.C., making him the region's longest-serving TV news anchor, according to The Washington Post.

The station's president and general manager announced Vance's death Saturday morning and remembered him for the legend he was.

"For more than 45 years, Jim Vance was not only the soul of NBC4 but of the entire Washington area. His smooth voice, brilliant mind and unforgettable laugh leaves each of us with a tremendous void," Jackie Bradford wrote.

Bradford said Vance always made sure to celebrate the good, but still acknowledge the parts of life that didn't go as well. She believed that was what made him a great man.

"To everyone in the Washington area who is heartbroken today, please know we grieve right along with you," Bradford wrote.

Details about Vance's cause of death have not been released, but he announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with cancer, according to the Post.

Vance was a reporter for Channel 4 for three years before he was promoted to anchor in 1972, according to the Post, making him among the first wave of black news anchors in major markets.

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He delivered the news alongside a number of co-anchors at Channel 4 for several years as the station often ranked second or third in the battle for local ratings, the newspaper reported. That changed in 1989 when he teamed up with co-anchor Doreen Gentzler. The pair, alongside sportscaster George Michael and meteorologist Bob Ryan, bumped Channel 4 to the top spot for local ratings, where they stayed for more than 25 years.

Vance, who won or shared more than a dozen Emmy awards, broke the bland mold for broadcasters in the 1970s with his bushy Afro and opposition to wearing makeup on camera, the Post wrote.

The anchor's 11 p.m. newscasts alongside Gentzler often earned more viewers than prime-time shows on CNN, Fox and MSNBC -- three major cable networks -- combined, the Post reported.

In addition to the work he did throughout his successful career, Bradford said Vance adored his loved ones and the city he served for so long.

"Jim loved his job, his family and Washington with all his heart, and we will all cherish the legacy he has left us forever," Bradford wrote.


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