Philadelphia TV pioneer Lew Klein passes away at 91

ByDavid Henry WPVI logo
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Former 6ABC reporter David Henry remembers Lew Klein as true mentor
Former 6ABC reporter David Henry remembers Lew Klein as true mentor. David Henry reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on June 13, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia television pioneer, professor, and philanthropist Lew Klein has passed away at the age of 91.

Klein had been an adjunct professor at Temple University since 1952. The college confirmed his passing Thursday morning.

"Lew Klein has left an indelible imprint on the lives of countless Temple students who have gone on to build successful careers in media, communication and related fields. Those graduates are Lew's true gift to journalism. His influence will be felt for generations to come," said Temple President Richard M. Englert.

Klein graduated from Cheltenham High School in 1945. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English.

Philadelphia TV pioneer Lew Klein passes away at 91. Jeff Chirico has more on Action News at 5 p.m. on June 13, 2019.

In 1950, Klein began working at WFIL-TV, the predecessor to WPVI-TV, and would remain for 22 years.

While at Channel 6, Klein directed many programs including the Sally Starr show, "Romper Room," and "College Press Conference."

He was also the executive producer of "American Bandstand" during its Philly years.

In 1967, Klein, along with W. Carter Merbrier, created the children's program "Captain Noah's Magical Ark."

Klein played an instrumental role in launching our Action News format as program director of the station in 1970.

During his career, he was also president of Gateway Communications, which owned four TV stations in the East.

Klein was also a producer of the Philadelphia Phillies telecasts for a decade and a half.

In 2017, Temple University named the College of Media and Communications in his honor.

Lew said at the time, "Thinking about the thousands of communications scholars who will graduate in future years, I am very optimistic about their success. They will be coming from one of the finest and most prestigious schools in the nation."

He created the College's annual scholarship fundraising event, the Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Awards.

Temple University says Klein helped launch the careers of hundreds of professionals, including CBS Evening News Executive Producer Steve Capus, comedian Bob Saget, and the late host and producer Dick Clark.

Klein is survived by his wife, Janet, his children, Ellen and Stephen, granddaughter Anna and her husband John, and great-grandchildren Oscar and Miriam.