In 1981, she said that after leaving Sacramento to join the Channel 7 press team, she “began to appreciate the fact that in Boston there was a lot more emphasis on content and on-site writing. writing”.
That said, she hasn’t limited her reporting and shows to sitting at a desk or talking in front of a camera in the TV studio.
After moving to WCVB-TV, Channel 5, in 1980, his assignment destinations included China and Cuba, Egypt and Greece, and the homeland of his ancestors, Ireland.
“I swam with a baby whale in the wild,” she told the Globe in 2002. “I learned to ice climb and drag races.
Peter Mehegan, her longtime ‘Chronicle’ co-host, recalled that “she was first and foremost a professional journalist. She was a good reporter, she knew how to tell a story, she was an excellent writer and she could tell a story as well as anyone. And she was fearless.
Once in a Costa Rican rainforest, a cameraman had to climb a large tree to take a photo. She did not stay safe on the forest floor.
“Mary slipped all the way to the top,” Mehegan said.
Ms. Richardson was inducted in 2011 into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, which noted that when WNAC hired her in 1978, “she became the first woman in Boston to co-host an 11-hour newscast. She quickly established herself as one of Boston’s most popular local television reporters.
In addition to her information functions, Ms. Richardson has co-hosted “Holiday at Pops! Concert at Symphony Hall for over a decade, and also co-hosted “Pops Goes the Fourth!” to the hatch shell.
However, she wore such a celebrity lightly and focused on the news.
“Mary was old school, like me, both new to the news business,” said Mehegan, who added that stories now circulating among former colleagues include an anecdote about a time when the only way for her to get a wanted interview with a crime suspect in Maine had to climb onto a roof with a cameraman and slip into the house through a window.
“The very fact that she climbs a roof and comes in through a window to get a story says a lot about her persistence and stubbornness,” he said.
The middle child and the only daughter of three siblings, Mary Claire Creehan was born in Lawrence, Kan., In 1945, the daughter of Ed Creehan, a career Navy officer, and Mary Rita Wager Creehan , a teacher.
She grew up primarily in San Mateo, California, graduated with a BA in English from the University of Santa Clara, and initially taught English in high school.
Back in school, she earned a master’s degree in communication from California State University in Sacramento.
In 1973, she began her television career in Sacramento at KCRA-TV, where for two years she co-hosted the 5pm and 11pm TV news.
After two years at WNAC in Boston, she moved to WCVB, where she hosted the weekly interview show “This Week”.
Memorably, she asked such tough questions when Mayor Kevin White was her guest that her assistants then complained to management that he hadn’t scheduled this kind of interview.
Although known to her friends and colleagues for her generosity and kindness, Ms. Richardson didn’t hesitate to ask “a difficult or embarrassing question,” she told The Globe in 1981. “I’m not that nice. that I’m afraid of hurting. someone’s feelings.
She joined “Chronicle” in 1984, co-hosting for about two decades with Mehegan and ending her tenure with Anthony Everett. She retired in 2010.
In addition to numerous regional Emmy Awards, Ms. Richardson’s honors include receiving the first Tim Russert Award from Boston Health Care for the Homeless, in 2010, and the Pinnacle Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce for Lifetime Achievement in the same year. Regis College awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2009.
When someone who aspired to work in television called, “Mary would never cut that person off,” Mehegan said. “She spent half an hour on the phone with this person. But beyond that, a day or two later that person would be at the station and Mary would show them around and maybe suggest employment options.
Ms Richardson, whose first two marriages ended in divorce, had been married since 1989 to Stan Leven, a longtime former senior producer of “The Chronicle.”
“She was just a force of nature,” he said. “She was always on the move, always available to her fans and her family.”
He added that she was the same off camera as on air: “Warm, kind. She was loved by so many people.
Her son Christopher Murphy from Washington, DC said “she loved kids, she loved being a mom and she loved being a teacher to us and helping us understand the world better.”
Sometimes she “took us to stories that she covered because she wanted to expose us to what she was learning,” he added.
“We were all very proud to have a mother who was on TV,” Christopher said. “Even when we were kids we knew it was really special to have your mom as a woman in the industry. She broke a lot of barriers.
Funeral services will be private for Ms. Richardson, who, in addition to her husband, Stan, and son Christopher, leaves behind a daughter, Jessie Richardson of Sacramento; another son, Matthew Leven of Brooklyn, NY; and two grandchildren.
Ms. Richardson considered what she called the “cosmetic aspect of the job” – the makeup, hair and clothes that viewers often commented on when she encountered them on the street – to be the least interesting part of her job.
“For me it’s a pain,” she said in 1981. “I didn’t spend my teenage years reading Seventeen and Vogue and Glamor.”
Ms. Richardson was a firm believer in giving back to the community by volunteering to read stories to children at Horizons for Homeless Children in Boston and by working with Boston Health Care for the Homeless and other agencies.
“She thought it was part of her calling,” her husband said. “She would like to walk the streets with those caring for the homeless because for her it all came from the heart.”
As her Alzheimer’s disease progressed and she moved into a memory-assisted residence in Avita of Needham, her commitment to others did not falter.
“She has always found a way to communicate,” her husband said. “Even at the end, she was holding your hand and looking at you with those blue eyes that could melt the sun.”
Bryan Marquard can be reached at [email protected]