The Enduring Influence of 8 Ball Chairman Tony Valdez
Veteran television reporter Tony Valdez was more than just a dedicated and award-winning journalist. He was also an ardent advocate of giving back, whether it was helping journalists in need, giving students a hand up, or showing off his beloved Los Angeles. Tony, who served for more than a decade on the 8 Ball Emergency Fund for Journalists, died May 4 of kidney failure at his Los Angeles home. He was 78.
“In his years on the 8 Ball board, Tony was a strong, compassionate, and generous leader, so proud of the work we did to help not only journalists in need, but also students, who he nurtured through scholarships and advice,” said Roberta Wax, 8 Ball vice-chair. “His knowledge of Los Angeles was vast and impressive, and he told great stories about the city that he loved. He will be missed.”
Tony, who grew up in Los Angeles and worked at KTTV for 35 years, joined the 8 Ball foundation in 2010 and was elected chairman in 2018. Bob Tarlau, who preceded Tony as 8 Ball chair, recruited Tony to the foundation board and was not surprised when he accepted. “He always extended a helping hand, whether personally or professionally, to Los Angeles-area journalists who found themselves in need of guidance and direction,” said Tarlau. “That made him the ideal candidate to help steer the 8 Ball foundation. His passion for our organization, our profession, and our city - and all of Southern California - never wavered. He was a strong and loyal friend to me for many decades and I join those who will always remember the vigor and spirit that uplifted his ideals."
Prior to joining KTTV, Tony worked at KCET, KTLA, and La Opinion. He joined KTTV
in 1981, retiring in 2016. During his career, he covered everything from the Watts Riots to the Hillside Strangler, Night Stalker, and O.J. Simpson stories, and was one of the first Latino television journalists in Los Angeles. At KTTV he also hosted "Midday Sunday," co-anchored weekends with Christine Devine, and hosted the crime series "LA’s Most Wanted." He received Emmy, Golden Mike, and Los Angeles Press Club awards.
An avid photographer, Tony was an honorary member of the Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles and excelled in taking stunning black and white photos around Los Angeles. He also loved music and played the saxophone. Besides serving on the 8 Ball Emergency Fund, Tony was also a long-time docent at the Los Angeles Conservancy, often leading tours of downtown Los Angeles. His favorites: Vividly telling and showing the history of Broadway and Union Station.
Tony, a U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War, is survived by his son, Steve Valdez, and three grandchildren. A memorial service is pending. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the 8 Ball Emergency Fund for Journalists or the Los Angeles Conservancy.
Above: Tony with KTTV Fox 11 anchor Christine Devine.
The Los Angeles Times has posted an obituary, written by reporter Priscella Vega. https://www.latimes.com/obituaries/story/2023-05-11/tony-valdez