Lisa Thomas-Laury

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Lisa Thomas-Laury
Born (1954-07-19) July 19, 1954 (age 63)
Education Marshall University
Years active 1978 – 2016
Spouse(s) Dr. William Laury

Lisa Thomas-Laury (born July 19, 1954) is a retired news presenter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

Ms. Thomas-Laury started at WPVI-TV in Philadelphia on February 20, 1978, as noon co-anchor and reporter. In 1983, she was promoted to the 5 p.m. newscast, co-anchoring it until 2003 with now-retired news anchor Marc Howard. At the same time, she frequently substituted for Jim Gardner when he was unable to anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. She also has done the monthly Fast Forward series, a show geared toward teenagers; it is currently hosted by Rick Williams. She has taken over the African-American-oriented, locally produced Visions program (now named New Visions) from Vernon Odom.

Thomas-Laury is also theorized to have been the inspiration for the character "Maria" from the Guess Who? board game. Although she denies this rumor, she has admitted to sitting as a model for the illustrator of the popular game. The connection, she claims, is purely coincidental.

Thomas-Laury is one of a few African American women to anchor in the Philadelphia market, a group that currently includes her fellow WPVI anchors Tamala Edwards and Shirleen Allicot, WCAU anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah, KYW anchor Natasha Brown, and WTXF anchor Joyce Evans.

She retired on Wednesday, May 25, 2016. In 2017, she wrote a memoir is titled: "On Camera and Off, When the News is Good and When it's Not". She spent most of 2017 on a regional book tour. [1]

Medical leave[edit]

In 2002, Thomas-Laury began to experience health problems. Her first symptoms were tingling in her feet, which she assumed was from too much power walking. Her problem was initially misdiagnosed. According to a WPVI special report from November, 2005, Lisa finally ended up at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where she got the right diagnosis: she was suffering from a syndrome called POEMS Syndrome, which can cause nerve damage, organ enlargement, hormonal imbalances, and skin changes. She went on medical leave from Action News for almost a year and returned to work on September 11, 2003. She was scheduled to return to hosting the annual Thanksgiving Day parade, which she had missed in 2002, but her health problems returned, causing her to miss the parade again and return to medical leave.

In May 2004, Jim Gardner announced on the air that Lisa Thomas-Laury would be permanently leaving her anchor duties (but not leaving WPVI altogether, as Gardner said that the door would be open for her to return when her health permitted) in order to have more time to focus on her recovery.

In 2016, she retired from WPVI after a 38-year career at the station.

Announced return to broadcasting[edit]

During WPVI's 11:00 p.m. newscast on November 22, 2006, Lisa Thomas-Laury made a guest appearance and announced that she would return to the station in the next few weeks. She appeared the following day, November 23, 2006, during the broadcast of Philadelphia's annual Thanksgiving Day parade, the parade she once co-hosted. She returned to Action News on January 2, 2007, with a report on the opening of Oprah Winfrey's school for girls in South Africa. Since that time, Thomas-Laury has frequently filed reports for the noon, 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. newscasts and has also filled in on them as anchor.[2][3]

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia inducted Thomas-Laury into their Hall of Fame in 2009.

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