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Deaths Elsewhere |

George Putnam, Los Angeles TV news anchorman

George Putnam, the flamboyant broadcasting pioneer whose bombastic style and arch-conservative political views made him one of the nation's highest paid TV news anchors and one of its most widely lampooned, died Friday of heart failure. He was 94.

Putnam, one of the inspirations for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show's” Ted Baxter character, died at a hospital near his ranch in Chino, said Chuck Wilder, longtime producer of his syndicated radio program, “George Putnam's Talk Back.”

Although he had been absent from television for decades, Putnam continued to do his radio show, a mix of opinion, interviews and phone calls, until just a few months ago when his health began to fail.

It was the 1950s, '60s and '70s, though, that were really Putnam's broadcasting heyday. During those years he was a top-rated – and often controversial – news anchor for a number of Los Angeles stations.

His salary in the early 1960s, $300,000 a year, was said to be the highest of any TV newscaster in the country at the time, and his in-your-face editorials came to be widely lampooned. Associated Press

Charlie Walker, Grand Ole Opry member

Ole Opry star Charlie Walker, who became a popular disc jockey in Texas as he built a career as a honky-tonk singer, has died. He was 81 and had been diagnosed recently with colon cancer.

A Grand Ole Opry spokeswoman said Walker died Friday morning in the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville, Tenn.

He became a top country music disc jockey on San Antonio's KMAC in the 1950s while he recorded regional hits, including “Only You, Only You” on the Decca label.

His breakthrough was on Columbia Records in 1958 with the Harlan Howard-penned “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down.” The tune became a million-seller and a country music staple.

His other hits included “Who Will Buy the Wine,” “Wild as a Wildcat” and ‘Don't Squeeze My Sharmon.”

He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1967, and was also a longtime member of the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame. Associated Press

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