Journalist headed Chicago bureau from '65 to '90

Morris Roth, who headed Variety’s Chicago bureau from 1965 to 1990, died June 11 in Chicago of lymphoma. He was 82.

Roth originated the term “happy talk” to describe the breezy news format made popular by Chicago’s Channel 7, and was one of the first reporters to seriously cover cable TV.

Roth started at Variety in 1961, covering the nightclub and entertainment business and the fledgling theater scene in Chicago. He also covered film exhibition in the area.

Raised in South Bend, Ind., he served in the Army during WWII and then entered the public relations business, working on behalf of bond drives for the state of Israel. His journalism career started at the former Berwyn Beacon. He also covered commodities for the Wall Street Journal in Chicago before joining Variety.

Roth is survived by his wife, Judy, a son Jason, a daughter, Kaela; and three grandchildren.

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