Frank Field, the innovative New York television weather forecaster who for over 40 years delivered forecasts with professorial authority and reported on groundbreaking advances in health and science, has died. He was 100.
The beloved broadcaster died on Saturday in Florida.
The death of the New York TV legend was first reported by WNBC-TV, where Field got his big break in the TV business in 1958 and where he remained for more than a quarter century.
Field famously made appearances on NBC’s “Tonight” show with Johnny Carson, where he traded wits with the late-night icon. Carson would call Field “NBC’s crack meteorologist” and it brought the avuncular Field fame well beyond the Tri-State area.
Field was born on March 30, 1923 in Queens. He studied geology at Brooklyn College and later earned his meteorological training while enlisted in the Army Air Forces in World War II.
After the war, he worked in optometry (earning a doctorate in the practice) before switching back to weather forecasting, landing at Channel 4 during the early days of TV news.
Viewers relied on him for day-to-day weather in a time long before cell phone weather apps, while turning to him for coverage of historic snowstorms, hurricanes and other weather stories. But Field’s expertise expanded well beyond cold fronts and thunderstorms — he was well versed in science and, especially, in health stories that impacted a wide audience.
In 1971, he famously demonstrated the Heimlich maneuver in an era where the procedure was little known and not widely accepted, sparking awareness of a technique that has saved countless lives. In 1983, he broke ground again by covering a kidney transplant live, in unsparing detail, WNBC reported.
The next year, Field moved down the dial to WCBS-TV Channel 2, where he remained until heading to WWOR-TV Channel 9, from which he retired in 2004.
At Channel 2, Field was for a time teamed up with his own son, Storm, who made a name for himself delivering the weather here on Channel 7. Weather ran in the Field family — his daughter, Allison, was also in the forecasting business, working at WCBS.
Field is survived by Storm, Allison and another daughter, Pamela; seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. His wife of 75 years, Joan, died earlier this year.
In August 1984, as Field was moving to Channel 2, Newsday TV critic Marvin Kitman, who died last week, called Field “far and away the most popular person on Ch. 4 News. The dean of weathermen, health reporters and science reporters, was a warm, haimish, friendly authority figure, an honest, no-baloney kind of person, a New York institution like Bellevue Hospital. He was a reminder always of the way news used to be in the old days.”