Steve Bell, Former ABC News Anchor, Dead at 83

Former ABC News and Good Morning America anchor, Steve Bell died Friday at the age of 83 in Muncie, Indiana.

According to the The Star Press, Bell, was the first anchor for ABC NewsGood Morning America in 1975 and covered a slew of historical events over the years. During his time as a reporter in the early ’70s, Bell covered the Vietnam War, where he was captured by the Viet Cong and held at gunpoint, the Watergate scandal, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Sen. Robert Kennedy.

Following his tenure in the field, Bell went on to teach journalism at Ball State University’s College of Communication Information and Media in Muncie, where he taught telecommunications from 1992 until his retirement in 2007.

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(Photo: ABC News Photo Archives)

Bell’s death was confirmed by the university’s Interim Chair, Mike Spillman in a Facebook post shared by TCOM professor, Stan Sollars.

“I am sad to report that Professor Emeritus and former TCOM Chair Steve Bell, 83, passed away on Friday in Muncie. His daughter, Allison, confirmed his passing in a phone conversation earlier this afternoon with Kris Scott,” the statement read, adding how Bell was the first Ed and Virginia Ball Chair of Telecommunications after joining in the early ‘90s.

The statement goes on to reveal that after a distinguished career with ABC News and retiring from the network in 1996, the Iowa native made “tremendous contributions” to the college. In January 2008, Bell was recognized with an honor degree from Ball State University.

In an interview with The Star Press, former NBC news correspondent and associate professor at Ball State, Phil Bremen, told the publication that Bell brought along a “towering reputation and wealth of experience.”

“Steve was a profoundly decent and generous man,” Bremen said. [He was] admired by his colleagues and beloved by his students. He set a high bar for us all.”

In 1996, Bell returned to Vietnam with a group of students from Ball State and produced, directed, and narrated the documentary, Vietnam: Revolution to Evolution, which later aired on WIPB-TV and was syndicated to other PBS stations.

His vibrant background in journalism took him places big and small, but the moment Bell recalled the most powerful, according to The Star Press was when he walked up the stairs and stood in the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee after Dr. King was murdered. With blood remaining on the concrete, Bell later made his way to a nearby boarding house to observe the vantage point of the bathroom window where James Earl Ray fired his fatal shot.

“To stand there, and to know I’d done the same thing when John F. Kennedy was killed, it was a powerful moment,” Bell recalled. “I just stood and thought about the historical context.”

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Bell, who graduated from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, is survived by wife Joyce, and daughters Allison and Hillary.

Photo credit: ABC News Archive