Bill Bonds

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Bill Bonds
Rabinowitz-BillBonds-1985.JPG
Bonds prepares to interview students at Harrison High School in 1985
Born(1932-02-23)February 23, 1932
DiedDecember 13, 2014(2014-12-13) (aged 82)
Alma materUniversity of Detroit
OccupationTelevision news anchorman, journalist, commentator

Bill Bonds (February 23, 1932 – December 13, 2014) was an American television news anchor and reporter, best known for his work at WXYZ-TV in Detroit, Michigan. Bonds became an Action News anchorman beginning in the early 1970s.

Early career[edit]

He was born on February 23, 1932.[1] A native of Detroit, Michigan, and a graduate of the University of Detroit, Bonds was initially a reporter for the city's Contact News on WKNR-AM, known as Keener 13. He was also a reporter for several Michigan radio stations including WCAR, WPON and WQTE.

Bonds joined WXYZ in 1964 as a part-time booth announcer. He worked his way up to the anchor desk with Barney Morris. He covered the 1967 Detroit riots.

Eyewitness News, Action News[edit]

Bonds was transferred by ABC to become anchorman at KABC-TV in Los Angeles in 1968 to help launch its version of Eyewitness News. He returned to WXYZ-TV in 1971 just as the station was beginning a major upgrade of its news department under the Action News banner. Two years later, it became the highest-rated news broadcast in Detroit, a position it held up until 2011.[citation needed]

WXYZ-TV borrowed most of the basic elements of the Eyewitness News format from its fellow ABC owned and operated stations (WXYZ was an ABC O&O from sign-on in 1948 until ABC sold it in 1985 as part of its merger with Capital Cities Communications). However, it adopted a somewhat harder approach under Bonds' influence. Apart from his stint in Los Angeles, Bonds anchored at WABC-TV in New York from 1975 to 1976 after which he returned to Detroit. When WXYZ expanded to a 5pm newscast in 1982 Bonds would anchor that newscast and continue as anchor of its 11 p.m. newscast until 1995, when he was fired for yet another drunk driving arrest. He also occasionally filled in as anchor of ABC's weekend newscasts. Bill Bonds longtime lead anchor of Action News 1961-1968 1971-1975 and 1976-1995 deceased]

Interviews and talk shows[edit]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Bonds hosted an interview segment on the 5 p.m. news called "Up Front" in which he confronted newsmakers with tough questions. One of his frequent targets was longtime Detroit Mayor Coleman Young; their sparring matches were the stuff of local legend (including a fistfight challenge given by Bonds to Young in July 1989[2]). The segment was unique in that it would often feature national newsmakers interviewed by Bonds via satellite. (A famous incident came in 1991 when Utah Senator Orrin Hatch stormed off set during an especially heated line of questioning by Bonds.)[3]

In 1991, Bonds participated in the nationally-televised town hall meeting for Democratic presidential candidates Clinton, Jerry Brown and Paul Tsongas.

Bonds joined rival WJBK-TV as host of an 11 p.m. talk show Bonds Tonight on WJBK-TV and also anchored newscasts. He returned to WXYZ for several months in 1999 to read editorials, but left to lend his voice to radio and TV commercials, including the Detroit furniture company Gardner-White.

Commercials, radio work[edit]

Bonds had become the voice of several Detroit-area radio stations, and was paired with one of his partners at WXYZ's anchor desk, Doris Biscoe, to pitch Better Made potato chips.

Later life and death[edit]

Bonds also had a bit part as a newscaster in a 1970 episode of It Takes a Thief and as himself in cameos in the 1971 film Escape from the Planet of the Apes and the 1987 film Robocop.

He died at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, on December 13, 2014, at age 82, from a heart attack.[4]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1970 It Takes a Thief Newscaster TV Series, 1 episode
1971 Escape from the Planet of the Apes TV Newscaster (final film role)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Death Notice[permanent dead link] Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors
  2. ^ "Steve Wilson: Bulldog or bulldozer?". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  3. ^ "Bill Bonds confronts Utah Senator Orrin Hatch in 1991 interview". WXYZ-TV. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  4. ^ Bill Bonds, iconic former Channel 7 Action News anchorman, has died Archived August 11, 2016, at the Wayback Machine WXYZ, December 13, 2014