George Fischbeck, the passionate TV weatherman on KABC’s dominant Eyewitness News in the 1970s and ’80s, died today at at the Motion Picture & Television Fund retirement home in Woodland Hills. The local icon known as “Dr. George” was 92.
Fischbeck joined KABC in 1972 and became an instant favorite with his quirky enthusiasm, huge smile and signature bowtie. In the era before super-flashy graphics dominated TV news weather segments, the former schoolteacher sought to educate viewers about meteorology along with delivering the forecast. (Of course, working in rather climate-continuous Los Angeles allowed for such use of airtime.) His enthusiasm while explaining cutoff lows and isobars was contagious, and he kept the gig for nearly two decades, retiring in 1990. He returned to the L.A. airwaves in 1994 for a three-year stint at KCBS.
In 2003, Fischbeck received the TV Academy’s L.A. Area Governors Award for lifetime achievement for special and unique contributions to local television. A decade later, he was honored by the Los Angeles City Council in 2013, which declared April 10, 2013, as “Dr. George Day” in the city.