Gene Webster dies at 86

Was publicist, KABC editorial director

Gene Webster, former KABC-TV editorial director and MGM publicist, died of natural causes in Studio City, Calif., on Sept. 16. He was 86.

Webster began in the industry as a staff writer and director at KNX/CBS Radio in Los Angeles for 18 years. He then worked as a publicist for MGM, Paramount and CBS Films in the mid-1960s, promoting films including “Dr. Zhivago,” “The Sterile Cuckoo,” “With Six You Get Eggroll” and TV shows such as “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

He then moved to KABC-TV, where he worked for 18 years doing on-air editorials.

Webster was president and board member of the Los Angeles Press Club, board member of Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists and co-founder of the National Broadcast Editorial Assn. He also served as president of the Los Angeles County Commission on Alcoholism.

One of Webster’s editorials on organ donations led to the iconic pink dot donor symbols on California driver’s licenses.

He was born in Shelton, Neb., and served in the U.S. Navy during WWII, after which he moved to Los Angeles.

Webster is survived by his wife, Margaret (Kathie) Henchman; a son; and a grandson. A daughter and son preceded him in death.

A memorial service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City.

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