Longtime Chicago bureau chief Morry Roth passed away on June 11 in Chicago of lymphoma. He was 82. According to the Variety obit, Roth originated the term “happy talk” to describe the breezy news format made popular by Chicago’s Channel 7, and was one of the first reporters to seriously cover cable TV.
Roth started at Variety in 1961, covering the nightclub and entertainment business as well as the fledgling theatre scene in Chicago. He also reported on film exhibition in the area.
Raised in South Bend, Indiana, he served in the Army during WWII and then entered the public relations business, working on behalf of bond drives for the state of Israel. His journalism career started at the former Berwyn Beacon. He also covered commodities for the Wall Street Journal in Chicago before joining Variety.
Roth is survived by his wife, Judy, a son Jason, a daughter, Kaela, and three grandchildren.