Longtime NBC 5 co-anchor and reporter Dick Johnson, whose career in Chicago television journalism spanned nearly 40 years, has passed away, his family confirmed. He was 66 years old.
Dick, whose welcoming smile and kind disposition were as much hallmarks of his personality as his long-standing talent in news, most recently co-anchored NBC 5's weekend evening newscasts and reported for the weekday 10 p.m. news.
Dick was being treated at a hospital in northern Michigan the last several days for complications related to a respiratory condition, according to his family. He leaves behind his wife and three grown children, as well as his newsroom family and so many in the journalism field who have learned from him.
He moved to NBC 5 in the fall of 2002 to co-anchor NBC 5 News Today from Studio 5, Chicago's first street-side studio, following 20 years as an anchor and reporter at ABC 7 Chicago.
Among countless awards, Dick received national and regional Emmys for his work, as well as a duPont-Columbia Award and Peabody Award.
Prior to making Chicago his home in 1982, Dick anchored the 5 p.m. news at KDFW-TV in Dallas where he was also a political reporter. He began his reporting career in Indianapolis at WTHR-TV.
Earlier in his career, Dick was on board Air Force Two with then-Vice President George H.W. Bush during the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. He covered the return of the Iranian hostages at West Point, Ryan White's courageous struggle with AIDS, the famine in Ethiopia, the battle to build Comiskey Park and the United Center, and the struggle over Chicago school reform.
Dick broke the story of the Great Loop Flood, covered the rape trial of boxer Mike Tyson and uncovered the Chicago connection in the murder spree of Andrew Cunanan. He has reported on election campaigns of every kind, from president to mayor.
Dick has also appeared on NBC’s “Chicago Fire," the movie "Barbershop 2" and the 2009 film "Chicago Overcoat."
While earning a degree in political science at DePauw University, Dick served as news director of its radio station WGRE. More recently, he was chairman of the Board of External Advisors for DePauw’s Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media.
Dick is survived by his wife Lauren, his three children and his two grandchildren.