Longtime LA Newsman Bob Flick Dies at Age of 84 - NBC Southern California

Longtime LA Newsman Bob Flick Dies at Age of 84

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    Bob Flick, a longtime Los Angeles newsman who survived the 1978 Jonestown massacre in Guyana that killed two of his NBC colleagues, has died at the age of 84. (Published Jan. 4, 2016.)

    Bob Flick, a longtime Los Angeles newsman who survived the 1978 Jonestown massacre in Guyana that killed two of his NBC colleagues, has died at the age of 84.

    Flick's death was announced on Facebook by longtime friend and former colleague Joe Saltzman of USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

    Retired newsman Pete Noyes also discussed Flick's death on his Facebook page, calling his former colleague "a true newsman, first, last and always."

    According to Noyes, Flick was coming out of a Pasadena restaurant on New Year's Eve when he fell backward and hit his head. He died of brain trauma the following morning at Huntington Memorial Hospital.

    Flick began his news career in 1958, when Noyes hired him as a beat reporter at City News Service.

    He went on to work at Associated Press; at the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, then known as KNXT, during "The Big News" era in the 1960s; and at NBC in Burbank, where he worked as a producer for both local and network newscasts in the 1970s.

    The Jonestown massacre, the largest mass suicide in modern history, was "the greatest tragedy of his life," according to Saltzman.

    On Nov. 18, 1978, 909 members of the People's Temple died — nearly all from cyanide poisoning and at least 200 of them children — at the direction of cult leader Jim Jones following the murders of Congressman Leo Ryan and several others by temple members at a nearby airstrip.

    NBC correspondent Don Harris and cameraman Bob Brown, along with a San Francisco Examiner photographer, were also killed in the ambush, and an NBC sound man and an Examiner reporter were wounded.

    "Flick, a hardened journalist, was overwhelmed by the experience," Saltzman wrote. "He never forgave himself for surviving when his colleagues were being shot down."

    Saltzman recommended Flick, who couldn't bring himself to return to hard news, for a job at a new entertainment news show that Paramount was putting together. Flick would work as head newswriter for "Entertainment Tonight" until retiring in 1997.

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