Ruth Ashton Taylor, the first female TV reporter to cover the West Coast, has died at 101.
Ashton Taylor’s daughter, Laurel Conklin, told The Hollywood Reporter that she died on Thursday, Jan. 12, in San Rafael, California.
The iconic newscaster began her career at CBS Radio beside Edward R. Murrow in the 1940s. In 1951, she accepted a position with KNXT-TV in Los Angeles, which earned he the title of the West Coast’s first woman to report on television.
Ruth Ashton Taylor took a hiatus from the news in 1958 when she became a college public information officer. But it was only four years before she returned to co-host The Ruth and Pat Show on the radio with Green Acres star Pat Buttram.
Ruth Ashton Taylor Didn’t Plan to Be a Television Trailblazer
In 1966, Ashton Taylor got back in front of the camera to co-host a weekend show and serve as a general reporter. She stayed with those positions until she returned in 1989. However, she occasionally returned as a guest contributor for outlets in Sacramento well into her 70s.
“There weren’t any women on the air so it was just a thing you accepted,” she said of forging a career on TV during an interview with Suzanne Haibach Marteney. “Every so often, I’d hear women say in British broadcasting or other countries that they had women on the air, but we never did and you’d sort of think about it. But I didn’t have any great aspirations because it wasn’t something that you really put as your goal if there weren’t any jobs. And I didn’t feel like a pioneer in forging my way in that direction. I was doing well and having fun.”
During her life, Ruth Ashton Taylor earned the Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1982 and a Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990.