Fred Anderson, a veteran Los Angeles television and radio newsman, died early Sunday of heart problems, ending a quarter-century career in which he piloted the Goodyear blimp, flew with the Navy's Blue Angels and survived attacks by a lion and a bear. He was 59.
Anderson apparently suffered a heart attack last weekend and was transferred to Glendale Memorial Hospital for triple bypass surgery, according to a statement issued by KABC-TV. He had been in critical and unstable condition after the surgery and suffered another, fatal heart attack at 2:09 a.m. Sunday, the statement said.
KABC-TV News Director Cheryl Fair called Anderson "an important part of the Eyewitness News family for over 25 years. He earned and maintained the respect of all his Channel 7 co-workers and other media members throughout Los Angeles. But most of all, he was a great friend. He will be sorely missed."
Born in Worcester, Mass., Anderson once planned a career in the arts, studying music theory at the New England Conservatory of Music.
But after working at several small radio stations, he decided he was more comfortable in broadcasting. He worked his way up to radio news director at a New Orleans station, and later moved to Los Angeles.
Anderson's reporting credits include United Press International in Virginia and radio station KNX here. He also reported for the ABC and CBS radio networks.
After he moved into television, he won an Emmy Award for one of the first documentaries on battered children, and a Golden Mike award for feature reporting.
At Eyewitness News, he starred in a segment called "Anderson At Large," in which he tried his hand at more than 500 occupations. He served as a third-grade teacher, washed windows on the 50th floor of a skyscraper and worked as a deckhand on a fishing boat.
That assignment put him in some hazardous situations, and on occasion, in close proximity to wild animals; a bear once attacked him, and a lion bit him.
He is survived by three daughters, his parents, a sister and a brother.
Funeral arrangements were pending.