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When Fox News began, there was Uma Pemmaraju.
In 1996, being a woman, and an Asian-American was unusual in the field of broadcast journalism.
She was behind the anchor desk when the cable news channel was launched.
“Pemmaraju was on the air when Fox News launched on Oct. 7, 1996. At the time, Pemmaraju was one of the only Indian-American anchors to reach national prominence, and she was beloved by viewers and Fox News colleagues alike,” Fox News reported.
She anchored original shows on the network like “Fox News Now” and “Fox On Trends.”
She left the network but rejoined in 2003 as an anchor. Pemmaraju also hosted the Sunday edition of “FOX News Live,” anchored “The Fox Report” and interviewed newsmakers, celebrities, and political figures.
“I’m a conduit to help other people. I don’t want to sound too sentimental. But that’s what I’m about,” Pemmaraju told the Globe. “I want to use my celebrity to help people, to help bring about something that needs to be done.”
When not in front of the camera, Pemmaraju also taught journalism at Emerson College in Boston and at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Pemmaraju was named “Boston’s Best Anchor” in 1996 and 1997 by Boston Magazine and received several Emmy awards throughout her career for reporting and investigative journalism.
She was named one of Spotlight Magazine’s “20 Intriguing Women of 1998.”
Pemmaraju also won the Texas AP award for reporting in 2002, the Woman of Achievement award from the Big Sisters Organization of America, and the Matrix Award from Women in Communications,” Fox News reported.
In a 1993 article, the Boston Globe said Pemmaraju arrived on Boston’s media scene “like a rocket with booster jets blazing.” She was dedicated to reporting stories about “the dispossessed, the indigent, the powerless,” the paper said.
At that time, Boston Magazine selected her as “a face to watch.”
The Texan obtained her start in her home state and then proceeded to climb the ladder in journalism to such prominence and praises.
Uma was born in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India, and grew up in San Antonio, Texas.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Trinity University in San Antonio and started out as a journalist with KENS-TV and the San Antonio Express-News newspaper.
From San Antonio she transferred to Baltimore’s WMAR-TV, and then on to Boston’s WLVI and WBZ-TV stations, where she was very successful.
In her private life, Pemmaraju was married to American businessman Andrew Petkun in 1993.
The wedding was reportedly a mix of religious wedding traditions including a rabbi, a Tibetan monk, and an Islamic priest.
The couple had one daughter, Kirina, and the couple eventually divorced.
Now there is sad news about Pemmaraju.
On August 9, Fox News announced founding Fox News Channel anchor Uma Pemmaraju has died.
Pemmaraju was just 64 at the time of her passing.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 9, 2022
Fox News responded to the news of her passing.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Uma Pemmaraju, who was one of FOX News Channel’s founding anchors and was on the air the day we launched. Uma was an incredibly talented journalist as well as a warm and lovely person, best known for her kindness to everyone she worked with.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to her entire family,” FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said.
“The award-winning anchor was born in India, raised in Texas, and honed her craft at local stations in Dallas, Baltimore, and WBZ-TV in Boston, before relocating to New York to help launch Fox News Channel.
“Very sad to hear this news .. Uma’s office was just a few doors down from mine when I first started at Fox. She was kind and welcoming and always has a smile for everyone,” a colleague, Laura Ingle posted.”
Very sad to hear this news .. Uma’s office was just a few doors down from mine when I first started at Fox. She was kind and welcoming and always has a smile for everyone. Original Fox News Channel anchor #UmaPemmaraju dies at 64 | @FoxNews https://t.co/BqJu0GZrtU
— Laura Ingle NOT Ingraham (@lauraingle) August 10, 2022
Pemmaraju worked at Boston’s WBZ from 1992 to 1996 prior to heading to New York City.
Her family told WBZ-TV’s David Wade she was a noble soul and pioneer, as an Indian Asian American newswoman.
“Another sad passing for WBZ,” WBZ-TV anchor David Wade tweeted. “Former Channel 4 anchor and reporter Uma Pemmaraju has passed away. After leaving WBZ, she went on to be a national news anchor.
“Her family tells me she was a ‘noble soul and pioneer’ as an Indian Asian American newswoman of prominence. #WBZ,” he added.
Another Boston peer in journalism, Doug Banks of Boston business Journal said,” So sad to hear of another Boston broadcaster passing away. RIP, Uma Pemmaraju.”
Former Governor of Arkansas and Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee (R) reacted to news of the legendary anchor’s death in a touching post on Twitter.
“I was so sad to hear,” Huckabee tweeted. “[Uma Pemmaraju] was a beautiful person inside & out. Talented and kind. A cherished friend.”
I was so sad to hear. @UmaPemmaraju was a beautiful person inside & out. Talented and kind. A cherished friend.
Original Fox News Channel anchor Uma Pemmaraju dies at 64 https://t.co/5HUt7GIPR3 #FoxNews
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) August 9, 2022
Social media was full of kind thoughts and condolences, Conservative Brief reported.
I am very sorry to read this sad news. My heartfelt condolences to Uma’s family and close friends. 🙏
— Mike Emanuel 🇺🇸 (@MikeEmanuelFox) August 10, 2022
Another sad passing for WBZ.
Former Channel 4 anchor and reporter Uma Pemmaraju has passed away.
After leaving WBZ, she went on to be a national news anchor.
— David Wade (@davidwade) August 8, 2022
Although she was reportedly ill, as of Wednesday morning, the cause of her death has not been released.