NBC 5 anchor Dick Johnson dies

Anchor/reporter for NBC5 had 38-year journalism career in Chicago

Journalists and anchors were stunned at the sudden death of NBC 5 (NBC-owned WMAQ-TV) anchor Dick Johnson, who passed away Tuesday afternoon at the age of 66. 

Johnson was forced to take a leave of absence and headed to his home in northern Michigan when the coronavirus epidemic hit as he was known to have respiratory infections as he was hospitalized in the last few days. It is believed however, that Covid-19 did not play a role in his death.

The news was announced on NBC 5’s newscast at 4 p.m

Johnson began his career at WTHR in Indianapolis and KDFW in Dallas before moving to ABC-owned WLS-TV in 1982 as an anchor and a reporter, where he spent two decades. He was there when the station rose to number one by 1986 after years in third-place. In 2002, Johnson moved to NBC 5 where he co-anchored the weekend newscasts and also did some reporting, right up until the coronavirus hit. Johnson filled in for weeknight anchor Rob Stafford when he was out with a rare blood disease. 

Many Chicago journalists chimed in on Twitter to send their condolences. Here’s a sampling: 

Reaction also came in from Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot: 

In addition to his journalism credits, Johnson also made cameo appearances in NBC’s Chicago Fire and the movie Barbershop 2, and won a duPont-Columbia Award and shared a Peabody Award with Carol Marin. Johnson is survived by wife Lauren, three children, and two grandchildren. 

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