PAY TRIBUTE TO KCBS-TV PHOTOGRAPHER LARRY GREENE
By Rick Friedman
It is often said when someone dies that we should celebrate
their life. We rarely do. But on a triple-digit degree sunny
Saturday in Los Angeles, we did. And rightly so.
KCBS-TV news photographer, Larry Greene, was killed when the
rotor of the Navy helicopter he was shooting from struck the
mast of a Syrian ship under surveillance and crashed. He was
50 years old and leaves behind a wife and two children. They,
along with hundreds of others who worked with and knew Larry,
came together at the CBS lot in Studio City for an inspiring
two-hour memorial service.
It was presided over by "Access Hollywood" host
Pat OBrien, who was at his most masterful throughout.
Pat, like so many of us in attendance, had worked with Larry
at CBS2, but not for many years.
I had first met Larry in 1984 when we were covering the GOP
convention in Dallas, TX. We encountered each other at many
other major national news stories over the rest of the decade.
In 1991 and 92 during my two brief tours at CBS2, I
was fortunate enough to work with him as well. Over the years,
we continued to run into each other, mostly at awards banquets.
Larry was honored over his career with every industry award
you could imagine, from the coveted du-Pont Columbia award
to the Edward R. Murrow, numerous Emmys, and more.
Larry was more than the epitome of a consummate professional.
Indeed, he was the best of the best in the field of photojournalism.
He was also the class clown, prankster, a talented cartoonist,
a passionate rock guitar player and drummer, and so much more.
He was known for having his photograph taken with famous participants
in stories he was covering (like President Bush #41 and Miles
Davis), explaining that it was "ten seconds of embarrassment
for a lifetime of pleasure."
Celebrity guest speakers included Ann Curry of NBCs
"Today Show" (who flew into LA from New York just
for the service) and Roy Firestone of ESPN, who first met
Larry when they were both student deejays at their college
radio station. Each had fabulous and humorful recollections
of inimitable "Larry Green moments." Among the most
amusing remarks were those of "Celebrity Justices"
Harvey Levin, who began his touching remembrance by noting
that "the world has lost the only Jew who loved guns
and understood electronics."
One of Larrys idols, musician Todd Rundgren, paid tribute
via videotape from Japan where he was touring. An awesome
video tribute, narrated by OBrien, and edited by friend
and colleague Richard Alvarez, was a momentous highlight of
A partial list of attendees regrettably leaves out many more
who also deserve to be mentioned, but is worthwhile because
it gives scope and perspective to the long-lasting impact
Larry made to the many lives he touched: anchors Harold Green,
Marc Coogan, (all CBS2), Colleen Williams (NBC4), Sylvia Lopez
(KCAL), Jane Velez-Mitchell (formerly CBS2 and KCAL); Steve
Rambo (formerly KCBS); Jim Moret (formerly of CNN); reporters
Linda Breakstone, Drew Griffin, Randy Paige (KCBS2), Judd
McIlvene, Helen Kumari (both formerly CBS2); former news director
John Lipmann, former assistant news director and KCOP reporter
Tammy Taylor; former executive assistant Shari Freis; producers
Cindy Hubach ("Behind the Music," "Beyond the
Glory"), Danny Tobias ("Celebrity Justice");
photographers Steve Field, Gary Brainard, Denny Macko (KCOP);
editor Dee Dee Markes.
All of us who attended are indebted to CBS2 and KCAL GM Don
Corsini who made sure everything was done just right. We all
knew in advance that we just had to be there. We came away
with memories of Larry Greene we can all treasure always.