Merri Dee’s broadcasting career is legendary. She’s one of the few women who have enjoyed true staying power. For 37 years, Dee has held a number of high profile positions at WGN-TV, from newscaster, talk-show host, staff announcer and editorial spokesperson, before moving into the management ranks in her current position. She has also hosted countless parades, telethons and TV specials. Her broadcast log reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ – having shared camera time and stages around the world with the likes of Lou Rawls, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Nancy Wilson, Bernie Mack, Tom Joyner, Ed McMahon, Frank Sinatra, and literally hundreds of other well-known entertainers and personalities. She is a recipient of many awards honoring her broadcasting experience, including the Silver Circle “Lifetime Achievement Award” presented by the Chicago Academy of TV Arts and Sciences.
|Merri Dee tribute
|Merri Dee from WGN-TV
Interestingly, even to this day, when you ask lifelong Chicagoans about Dee, many remember her story of being kidnapped and almost murdered by a stalker. Given last rites, overcoming paralysis and blindness, she not only survived, but also was renewed and inspired to make a difference with her second-chance in life.
This passion and drive to make a difference has served her role as manager of WGN-TV Children’s Charities, a fund of the McCormick Tribune Foundation well, where she raised over $30 million dollars for various children’s organizations in Chicago. She even made the welfare of children waiting to be adopted in Illinois her personal project. This adoption advocacy led her to receive many awards, including the national “Gracie Allen Award” by the National Assoc. of American Women in Radio and TV and the “Adoption Excellence Award” by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
A strong believer in education, Dee has also hosted the United Negro College Fund’s “Evening of Stars” for 30 years, serving two years as the volunteer general chairman of the nationally televised event. Additionally, Dee was the co-founder of Athletes For Better Education (AFBE), an academic, athletic program, where graduates i.e. Player/Coaches Terry Cummings, Doc Rivers, Tony Brown and others received academic support, guidance and motivation toward reaching their goals as professional athletes. As a result of these accolades and accomplishments, Dee is a nationally recognized motivational speaker, constantly in demand to also serve as a keynote speaker, panelist, moderator, and fundraising strategist.