Gil Noble, a pioneering African-American broadcaster who hosted the WABC-TV New York public affairs program “Like It Is” for more than 40 years, died Friday after a long illness. He was 80.
Noble’s show debuted on ABC’s flagship station in 1968 amid the racial and political turmoil of the era. As producer and host, Noble’s goal was to document untold stories of African-American history. Among the notables he interviewed for the program and other WABC-TV broadcasts were African leaders Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe; entertainers Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne; sports legends Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe; and political figures including Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan.
Noble also produced documentaries on W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Charlie Parker, among others. In 1977, he wrote, produced and directed the first docu on singer Paul Robeson, “The Tallest Tree in Our Forest.”
“Gil Noble’s life and work had a profound effect on our society and culture,” said WABC-TV prexy and g.m. Dave Davis. “His contributions are a part of history and will be remembered for years to come.”
Born in Harlem in 1932, Noble joined WABC-TV as a reporter in 1967 and became anchor of the station’s Saturday and Sunday night newscasts in January 1968. His tenure at the station ended last July after he suffered a stroke.
During his long career, Noble earned seven Emmys and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists, among hundreds of other accolades.
The family requests that donations be made to the Gil Noble Archives, P.O. Box 43138, Upper Montclair, N.J. 07043.