Remembering Newsman Tony Valdez | 1945-2023

We’re remembering veteran Fox 11 newsman Tony Valdez, who died last week at 78. Tony loved Los Angeles and he loved Los Angeles history; for Tony, the city was a profession and an avocation. When he wasn’t reporting on Los Angeles, he was leading tours as a docent for the Los Angeles Conservancy.

Tony grew up in downtown Los Angeles. When Tony was young, he and his family picked crops in the Central Valley. As a result, he brought a personal relationship and lived experiences to his news coverage, but also to his tours of the Broadway corridor theaters (yes, they were segregated and the balconies were reserved for people of color). Tony was always modest and when someone in his tour group recognized him, Tony insisted that they were mistaken. He didn’t want his personal prominence to distract from what he was trying to impart about the city. He was a regular at the conservancy’s annual Last Remaining Seats movie series, often introducing the series’ Spanish-language films at the Million Dollar Theatre.

I got to know Tony after my 1997 Column One on the Black Dahlia case. Tony was an early researcher into the murder of Elizabeth Short and he brought a journalist’s intensity and impartiality to investigating the killing. After my story in The Times on the 50th anniversary of the murder, Tony persuaded his KTTV news directors that the story was worth a two-part feature, drawing on his archive of interviews with people involved in the case.

Tony had me on his show Midday Sunday several times to discuss the Black Dahlia case, and later to rebut the claims of retired LAPD homicide Detective Steve Hodel that his father, Dr. George Hodel, killed Elizabeth Short and countless other women in Los Angeles. Tony also hosted a presentation featuring retired LAPD Capt. Ed Jokisch and homicide Detective Danny Galindo to further rebut Steve Hodel’s Black Dahlia Avenger franchise.

In retirement, Tony returned to one of his other passions: Photography.

Consider Tony’s Instagram account (@Tonyvaldeznews) to get an idea of the man, for he used it to share his journeys around California and the world with dramatic pictures, often in black and white: San Pedro. Sacramento. Westley, Calif. Vernalis, Calif. East Los Angeles City College, with journalism students who received scholarships from the 8 Ball Foundation, which Tony headed. Vancouver. The retirement party for famed AP photographer Nick Ut. Taos, N.M. Paris. Istanbul. Hesperia, Calif. On the road to Roswell, N.M.

As far as Tony traveled, he always came back to L.A.: Union Station. Las Posadas on Olvera Street. Remembering Ruben Salazar.

Tony’s death leaves a gap in Los Angeles history that cannot be filled. Here’s a sample of his work: Tony’s L.A., from April 3, 2015.

We’ll miss you Tony. Thanks for everything!

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in broadcasting, Obituaries, Photography, Television and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Remembering Newsman Tony Valdez | 1945-2023

  1. Sheila says:

    He sounds like a fascinating person! I’m sorry LA has lost him.


  2. Sylvia E. says:

    A lovely tribute. Thanks


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