Dorothy Fuldheim, an amazing example for all

With all this news of the Barbie movie and women, it seemed appropriate for me to mention an important, female newscaster of my youth, Dorothy Fuldheim. I know that my mom and I would look forward to the 11:00 pm News on Channel 5, WEWS in Cleveland, Ohio and hear a commentary or whatever from Dorothy. She was a woman who was a straight shooter. She had opinions and was more than willing to share them. In checking a video of her with Johnny Carson and Richard Pryor, there are things I might call her out on today, but in some respects she was a true member of the time period in which she lived.

Dorothy Violet Schnell or Snell (depending upon the source) was born in Passaic, New Jersey and spent her childhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Does Milwaukee and Wisconsin even lay claim to her? They should because she was ahead of her time and a more than amazing journalist and news anchor who interviewed some of the most memorable people of her time. She attended Milwaukee College, now University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.At one point, she even interviewed Adolph Hitler, nicely avoiding telling him that she was Jewish. She supposedly told him that she disagreed with everything he said. Jane Addams hired her as a speaker. She married her first husband, Milton H. Fuldheim and moved to Cleveland, Ohio with him in the 1920s. She had one daughter, Dorothy Fuldheim-Urman, a professor of Russian at Cleveland’s Case Western University who died of cardiac arrest in 1980, leaving a surviving granddaughter. Her death was a major blow to Dorothy and she did an eloquent television commentary on it that is still on YouTube.

Born in 1893 and passing away in 1989, she is considered to be the first woman in the United States to anchor the news. She had her own TV show on channel 5, WEWS in Cleveland and spent some thirty-seven years at it. She began her stint as a news anchor in 1947! During her time on television, she interviewed some 15,000 famous people like Bob Hope,  the Duke of Windsor, Helen Keller, FDR, Muhammad Ali and Jerry Rubin, whom she actually kicked off her show.

I watched her visit with Johnny Carson and Richard Pryor on the Tonight Show and found it to be fascinating. The woman was intelligent, charming, and nothing escaped her whatsoever. Her repartee is absolutely on point. There are so many interesting facts about this lady.

Dorothy Fuldheim was a profound influence on me during my years growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland and I have never forgotten her.




About Richard Koerner

Seventy something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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