The usually serious and restrained Dennis Richmond struggled to hold back his emotions tonight when he signed off for last time after 40 years at Channel 2.
“I will spend many days in my retirement sending thank-you notes to as many of you as I can, but … it will take a little while. But of course I will have plenty of time,” said Richmond, who turns 65 on Tuesday.
His final “10’O’Clock News” was filled with clips from Richmond’s reports over the years — including shots of him in an afro in the late 1960s — and farewells from celebrities such as Carlos Santana and John Madden.
“Television news in the Bay Area was never better than when Dennis Richmond was anchoring and when [he] leaves it is never going to be the same,” said Madden, former Oakland Raiders coach and now NBC football analyst.
Richmond said he plans to retire to a house on a golf course in Grass Valley with his wife Deborah. Television won’t be entirely in their past, however. Deborah is working on a forthcoming Bravo reality show about an interior decorator.
Richmond, who was at the Channel 2 anchor desk for 33 of his 40 years at the station, holds the record for the longest tenure as a TV anchor in the Bay Area, surpassing legends like Fred Van Amburg, Dave McElhatton and the late Pete Wilson.
Starting tonight, Channel 2 newsman Frank Somerville will replace Richmond, co-anchoring the 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts with Julie Haener.
Sports anchor Mark Ibanez, who has worked for 29 years with Richmond, said, “This guy is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
At the end of the news, Richmond appeared to hold back tears as he read his final remarks:
“I will truly miss speaking to you twice a day … It’s been truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that happily for me lasted 40 years. So, for the last time, it is with great joy and great sadness that i say good night and goodbye.”
- UPDATE: 9:30 a.m. BANG’s Chuck Barney: “When Richmond arrived for his final day at KTVU, his newsroom co-workers greeted him with an impromptu standing ovation, as well as some hugs and kisses. ‘He has had such an impact on the culture around here,’ KTVU news director Ed Chapuis said. ‘He’s leaving, but his stamp will still be all over this place.'”