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Gil Noble, host of 'Like It Is,' dies

April 6, 2012 at 1:56 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, April 6 (UPI) -- Gil Noble, who hosted the black-oriented New York public affairs TV show "Like It Is" for almost 40 years, has died at the age of 80.

WABC-TV said Noble died Thursday in a Wayne, N.J., hospital from complications of a serious stroke he suffered last year, The New York Times reported.

Noble, the son of immigrants from Jamaica, grew up in New York. He joined WLIB Radio in 1962 as a reporter and was hired by WABC-TV five years later.

At WABC, Noble was a reporter, weekend anchor and, after "Like It Is" started in 1968, a correspondent for the show. He became its host in 1975 and remained there until his stroke.

As host, Noble interviewed civil rights leaders like Fannie Lou Hamer and Andrew Young, cultural icons like Dizzie Gillespie and Lena Horne and heads of state from Michael Manley of Jamaica to Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. He won seven Emmy awards for his work.

In 1982, the Anti-Defamation League accused Noble of bias for failing to include the Israeli side in a discussion of the invasion of Lebanon. In 1991, WABC killed a show that would have included a speech by the controversial college Professor Leonard Jeffries, who had been charged with anti-Semitism.

"Some white Americans are repelled by 'Like It Is,' but that's the nature of the program," Noble told The Village Voice after the Jeffries controversy. "We are witnessing a quarrel between the races in America, and certain opinions in the black community must be heard even if they are revolting."

Noble is survived by his wife, four daughters and a son, and eight grandchildren.

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