ABC flagship WABC-TV New York announced the death Thursday (4/5) of broadcasting legend Gil Noble, producer and host of the station’s groundbreaking public affairs program “Like It Is.” Noble was 80 and had suffered a devastating stroke last July which ended his long career.
Born in Harlem on February 22, 1932, Noble spent his life serving the community he loved. He was recognized locally and nationally as a dedicated journalist whose work brought attention to the African-American struggle for advancement. “Gil Noble’s life and work had a profound effect on our society and culture,” said WABC-TV President and General Manager Dave Davis. “His contributions are a part of history and will be remembered for years to come. Today, our hearts are with Gil’s family – his wife Jean and their five children – and we thank them for so lovingly sharing him with the world all these years.”
Noble, whose career in television news and programming spanned over five decades, joined WABC-TV as a reporter in July 1967, and was named anchor of the station’s Saturday and Sunday night newscasts in January 1968. Later that year he became host of Like It Is. Debuting amid the nation’s racial turmoil in the 1960s, Like It Is created the largest body of programs and documentaries on African-Americans in the country. Noble dedicated long hours of research and investigation to ensure a consistently high quality for the program. He often said he learned as much doing the show as his viewers did watching it. Noble felt it was his mission to reunite African-Americans with the untold stories of their history, and he believed Like It Is offered a rare opportunity for viewers of all races to look at events through an African-American perspective.
Throughout his career, Noble interviewed many national and international luminaries, including heads of state President Nelson Mandela of South Africa and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; entertainment icons Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne; sports stars Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe; and political notables from Jesse Jackson to Louis Farrakhan. He also created documentaries on W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Paul Robeson and Charlie Parker, among many other notables.
The family will announce plans for a funeral service when arrangements are confirmed. They ask that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Gil Noble Archives, P.O. Box 43138, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043. Proceeds will be used to preserve the archives so that Noble’s mission of educating the community about its culture and history will continue.