Ruth Ashton Taylor dies at 101; was first female TV newscaster on West Coast

Ruth Ashton Taylor dies at 101; was first female TV newscaster on West Coast

SAN RAFAEL (AP) — Ruth Ashton Taylor, a trailblazing journalist who was the first female newscaster to work in television on the West Coast, has died. She was 101.

Taylor died Thursday at an assisted living facility in San Rafael, according to her family.

No cause of death was released. “She died very suddenly,” her daughter, Laurel Conklin, said Sunday.

Conklin said her mother was born in Long Beach in 1922 and had a career in radio and television news that spanned more than 50 years.

A photo of Taylor is displayed during her 100th birthday celebration in San Rafael in 2022. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal Archives)

Taylor graduated from Scripps College in Claremont, California, and earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University before taking a job as a news writer and producer at CBS radio in New York.

She was one of the original members — and only woman — in a documentary unit led by Edward R. Murrow.

By 1949, Taylor was on the air doing notable interviews and conducted many over the ensuing decades, including with performer Jimmy Durante, physicist Albert Einstein and President Jimmy Carter.

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Taylor become an anchor for the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles in 1951. She left journalism for a short time in 1958 before returning to TV station KNXT in 1962, where she spent the rest of her career before retiring in 1989.

Taylor earned a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in 1982 and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990.

In addition to Laurel Conklin, Taylor is survived by two other daughters plus a stepson, a grandson and granddaughter-in-law and a great-grandson.