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Jeanne Parr Noth

June 2, 2016
Lake Placid News

Trailblazing CBS News journalist Jeanne Parr Noth died on Thursday, May 19, 2016, surrounded by family in Maui, Hawaii. She was 92.

Born on March 30, 1924 in Madison, Wisconsin, to Lester William Parr and Gladys J. Kernan, Parr grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Madison, Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin and later UCLA. A Powers model in New York City during World War II years, Parr married naval aviator Ensign Charles James Noth in 1946.

Her first brush in with the media was at age 24 holding her then seven-month-old son Charles up in the air, an image taken by famed photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt that made the cover of Life Magazine on Oct. 28 and celebrated Madison as the place to experience the "good life."

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Parr began her media career in broadcasting a daily show for WKOW radio out of Madison, Wisconsin in 1958-59. She moved east in 1959 becoming a weekend weather girl for Channel 8, New Haven, Connecticut. Her move to CBS began with a blooper when she couldn't find the state of Arkansas during one of her weather broadcasts. That incident landed her an appearance on "What's My Line?" one of the most-watched television shows at the time where panelist Bennett Cerf identified her by asking if she "Once lost the state of Arkansas?"

Parr's charm and grace under pressure caught the eye of a CBS producer who called her and offered her a job with the station the next day soon becoming one of the first female broadcasters. She started at CBS doing soft news and weather on the Jin Jensen Show.

Her break into hard news came when the station, short of reporters because of others on assignment, sent her to cover the Newark Riots, a dramatic event she did so well it led to covering political conventions and international assignments in Russia during the height of the Cold War.

Parr spent the early 1960s as the lone female reporter covering feature stories, though she did return to "What's My Line?" as panelist, one of handful of people having been both contestant and panelist. Widowed in 1966 after her husband was killed in an automobile accident, Parr left CBS and New York during a brief second marriage that took her to southern California in the late fall of 1969.

Returning to New York and CBS in the early 1970s, Parr launched and hosted her late night interview talk show in 1978, "The Jeanne Parr Show" pioneering the show format for female hosts. Parr went on to write a book on the lives of the wives of superstar athletes called, "The Superwives," After CBS, Parr served on the board of Shaklee Vitamin Corp, and then formed a communication consultancy, teaching communication, public speaking and writing skills to business executives in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Parr eventually went behind the camera producing and directing several documentaries, including one of the first Global Forum of Parliamentary and Spiritual Leaders held at Christ Church in Oxford England, where his Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa met for the first time, and in 1993, one on the War in Bosnia.

In later life, she spent time in her home in the Adirondacks Mountains of New York state, traveled, and pursued spiritual knowledge and goals. She finally landed in Maui, Hawaii with a circle of friends. Parr is survived by her sons, attorney Charles James Noth II, therapist Michael Parr Noth, and actor Christopher Noth, along with two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

There will be a memorial service for Jeanne Parr at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 4 at Camp Tapawingo, Camp Way, Lake Placid with the Rev. Margo Fish officiating.



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