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Late talk show host Ruth Lyons is honored

Oct. 17, 2004 at 2:07 PM

CINCINNATI, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Before there was Oprah Winfrey, there was pioneering broadcaster and Cincinnati-native Ruth Lyons, the nation's first national talk show host.

Sixteen years after her death in 1988 at the age of 83, Lyons was inducted Saturday into the hall of fame of the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Millions of Midwesterners listened during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s as she spoke out on radio and TV in favor of racial equality and women's rights.

David Letterman and Jane Pauley have both agreed to appear in a video documentary of her life in time for the 2005 centennial of her birth, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Sunday.

Her fans would support a struggling performer and they were also loyal to her sponsors. The day Lyons switched grocery-store sponsors, going to the Kroger Co., the former sponsor's parking lots emptied that same day as Lyons' followers also went to Kroger.

She also raised millions of dollars for charity to provide toys for hospitalized southwester Ohio children.

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