At WHAV’s 2016 “Reunion of the Radio Stars,” Gary LaPierre, far right, chats with other WHAV honorees Mr. and Mrs. Joe Clementi, Pat Johnson and LaPierre’s wife Peg. (WHAV News file photograph.)
Legendary WBZ morning news anchor Gary LaPierre, whose broadcasting career began at WHAV in 1961, died Monday of leukemia at age 76.
Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Famer LaPierre had been a supporter of WHAV’s new FM station, first appearing alongside Tom Bergeron for WHAV’s 60th anniversary in 2007; then for the station’s “Reunion of the Radio Stars” in 2016 in downtown Haverhill; and, more recently, lending his voice for membership appeals. At WHAV’s “Reunion of the Radio Stars,” LaPierre joked about how he lost his WHAV job after only two months.
“This guy calls me one morning and gave me this man’s obituary and I’m writing notes feverishly, took down the information and I got my first lesson on checking your sources. Some poor schmuck was sitting at the local diner having his breakfast and I’m reading his obituary,” LaPierre recalled.
LaPierre moved to WBZ in 1964, where he remained 42 years, retiring in 2006. In 2007, he was reunited with former WBZ personality and another WHAV alumnus Tom Bergeron for WHAV’s 60th anniversary. They two had worked together mornings at WBZ.
WBZ broke the news of LaPierre’s death Monday afternoon.
“I am deeply saddened by this news,” Bill Flaherty, director of operations at WBZ NewsRadio said. “If you were looking to work hard and also have lots of fun, Gary was the guy you need to be with. My heart goes out to his wife Peg and his family.”
He began at WBZ as a general news reporter, quickly became morning anchor and later became well-known for his commentaries, “LaPierre on the Loose.” He was the recipient of the 1998 Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Radio Newscast, presented by the Radio-Television News Directors Association; 1997 Lifetime Achievement Award from the March of Dimes Achievement in Radio Organization; Associated Press Award for Documentary of the Year; San Francisco Award for Best Investigative Journalism; and 1986 Gold Award for Best Newsman of the Year at the International Radio Festival in New York City.
LaPierre was inducted into WBZ Radio Hall of Fame in 2007 and Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2010.