Jim O'Brien (reporter)
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James Franklin Oldham|
November 20, 1939
Galveston, Texas, U.S.
September 25, 1983 (aged 43)|
near Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Cause of death||Parachute failure while skydiving|
|Other names||Jim O'Brien (stage name)|
|Occupation||Disc jockey, television newscaster and presenter|
|Spouse(s)||Sandra Jo Hauck (div. 1969)|
|Awards||Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame (posthumous, 1997)|
Jim O'Brien was the stage name of James Franklin Oldham (November 20, 1939–September 25, 1983), a newscaster.
He was born in Galveston in 1939. He married Sandra Jo Hauck, in a small ceremony in Texas. They had two daughters: actress Peri Gilpin (born Peri Kay Oldham), who played the character Roz Doyle on the television program Frasier, and Patti Jo Wynne (née Oldham), who married Shannon Wynne.
Around 1971, he joined the WPVI-TV Channel 6 Action News team as a sports anchor. He soon became the weatherman, and eventually co-anchored the 12:00PM and 5:00PM newscasts, the local edition of Dialing for Dollars, and the weekend magazine show Primetime.
O'Brien had two favorite hobbies: motorcycle riding and skydiving. The latter hobby led to his death in a skydiving accident on September 25, 1983 at the United Parachute Club near Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania. He and another skydiver jumping with him deployed their main parachutes, but during their descent under their open parachutes, they collided with each other, and their parachutes became entangled. After trying unsuccessfully to detach themselves from each other, O'Brien, an experienced skydiver, performed a standard skydiving emergency procedure called a "cutaway", in which he jettisoned his main parachute and deployed his reserve parachute. However, by the time he performed the maneuver, he was already at such a low altitude that he struck the ground before his reserve canopy was able to inflate.
O'Brien was posthumously inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame in 1997.
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