Jerry Dunphy

Jerry Dunphy (June 9, 1921 May 20, 2002) was an American television news anchor in the Los Angeles/Southern California media market. He was best known for his intro "From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California, a good evening."

Jerry Dunphy
BornJune 9, 1921
DiedMay 20, 2002(2002-05-20) (aged 80)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
OccupationNews anchor
Years active1953-2002
EmployerWXIX (1953-1959)
KNXT (1960-1975)
KABC-TV (1976-1989)
KCAL-TV (1989-1995)
KCBS-TV (1995-1997)
KCAL-TV (1997-2002)



After serving as a pilot in World War II, Dunphy began his broadcast television career in 1953. He was the news director/anchor at then-CBS owned-and-operated (O&O) WXIX (now CW affiliated WVTV) in Milwaukee. Dunphy also was a sports reporter at another CBS O&O, WBBM-TV, in Chicago. Dunphy also served as a color commentator for Green Bay Packers telecasts on CBS in 1956.

In 1960, Dunphy took over the anchor chair at the Los Angeles CBS O&O station KNXT (now KCBS-TV), where he anchored Los Angeles' most popular newscast, later titled "The Big News", a program that often attracted a quarter of Los Angeles television owners, ratings unheard of in the market. He was still popular when fired in 1975, yet KNXT sought to adopt a faster paced, "Eyewitness News" type format. It was then that Dunphy joined KABC-TV, bringing it to the top of the ratings, making it Southern California's news leader. Since Dunphy's unceremonious firing, Channel 2 never recovered in the ratings, until the mid-2000s. Dunphy left KABC-TV in 1989 and joined the upstart KCAL-TV that July (when it was still KHJ-TV)[1] as one of the pioneering anchors of the three-hour primetime news format, "Prime 9 News". He returned to KCBS-TV in 1995 and remained until 1997 as an anchorman, and rejoined KCAL-TV in 1997, where he remained until his death.

Dunphy was one of the first newscasters to interview President Richard Nixon after his resignation in 1974. He would later sit down with Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford. Dunphy also performed regular cameos in L.A.-based films including Warning Shot (1967), Night of the Lepus (1972), Oh God! (1977), Short Cuts (1993), The Jerky Boys (1995) and Independence Day (1996), as well as in episode 6 of Batman (1966) Film Way,,,Way Out (1966), and is considered to be the inspiration for two fictional television characters: Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Kent Brockman on The Simpsons[2] (the director of "Krusty Gets Busted", Brad Bird, designed the character and modeled him after anchorman Ted Koppel[3]).

Dunphy was also a songwriter. One of his songs was called, appropriately, "From the Desert to the Sea" and was recorded by country music star T.G. Sheppard.

Personal life and death

Dunphy was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was attacked and shot by would-be robbers in 1983 but made a full recovery. Although he had suffered two previous heart attacks in 1978 and 1991, he had been in good health and had even anchored broadcasts the week before he succumbed to a heart attack on May 20, 2002. He suffered this heart attack on his way to work the week before.

On this night, former Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn (who himself would pass away in August of that same year), while doing play-by-play for a Lakers playoff game on KCAL, announced that Dunphy had suffered a heart attack. After the game went off the air, KCAL co-anchor Pat Harvey, fighting back tears, announced Dunphy's death on the 9 PM newscast:

Los Angeles has forever changed tonight, because Jerry Dunphy will never come into your home again. Our beloved anchorman and friend has died. Jerry touched the lives of generations of Angelenos for more than 40 years; a beacon of truth and trust, and for all to turn to in good times and in bad.

When KCBS-TV/KCAL-TV moved into its new studios at CBS Studio Center in 2007, a newsroom was named in Dunphy's honor. KCAL news promos still occasionally incorporate Dunphy's "from the desert to the sea to all of southern California" phrase, with other anchors speaking the lines in reference to their program's wide range of coverage.

He had six children: Jerry Dunphy Jr., Karen Dunphy, Linda Curb, Tad Dunphy, Megan Dunphy and Erin Dunphy.

He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.[4]

On May 9, 1984, Dunphy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in the television industry, located at 6669 Hollywood Boulevard.[5][6]


Year Title Role Notes
1963The PrizeAmerican TV News CorrespondentUncredited
1964The PatsyTV NewscasterUncredited
1964Kitten with a WhipNewscaster
1964Goodbye CharlieTelevision NewscasterUncredited
1965MirageTV NewscasterUncredited
1967The Reluctant AstronautTV NewscasterUncredited
1967Warning ShotHimself - TV newscaster
1971The Love MachineNewscaster
1972Night of the LepusTelevision Newscaster
1977Oh God!Himself
1990Hard to KillNewscaster
1990ImpulseTV Anchorman
1993Short CutsHimself
1994Jimmy HollywoodAnchorperson
1994Beverly Hills Cop IIINewscaster
1995The Jerky BoysWorld News Now Anchorman
1996Independence DayHimself
2000Dropping OutNewscaster
20003 StrikesHimself (Newscaster)
2003Pauly Shore Is DeadHimself(final film role)

See also


  1. Braxton, Greg; Lowry, Brian (2002-05-21). "Longtime TV Anchor, Known From 'the Desert to the Sea,' Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  2. Groening, Matt; Jean, Al (2003). Commentary for "Homer Defined", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  3. Bird, Brad; Wolodarsky, Wallace (2001). Commentary for "Krusty Gets Busted", in The Simpsons: The Complete First Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  4. "Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills". Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  5. "Jerry Dunphy". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  6. Braxton, Greg; Brownfield, Paul; Lowry, Brian (2002-05-25). "Jerry Dunphy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
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