More Than Just A Pretty (Asian American) Face

November 26, 2007

tritiatoyotaonair1981knbcschubeckinset.jpg

Many of us in Southern California grew up watching doll-faced Tritia Toyota anchoring the local news at KNBC and KCBS. She retired sans face-lift or botox in 20001999. Her name came up again just before Thanksgiving in a story recalling the tragic life of L.A. newscaster John Schubeck, who drank himself to death 10 years ago.

By the time Schubeck’s life had begun circling the drain, fellow TV journalists, friends and family turned their backs on him. When the end finally came in 1997, Schubeck, who in his prime reportedly commanded seven-figure salaries from L.A.’s three network owned-and-operated TV stations, was living in his car in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. ERS News (via LAVoice) remembered Schubeck here. (Editor’s note: ERS misspells Toyota’s first name as “Tricia.”)

The Asian American kicker and possibly the moral of this story is that in a city with numerous high-profile newscasters who knew and worked alongside Schubeck only Tritia Toyota really stepped up, making the arrangements and paying for her co-anchor’s funeral services and burial.

The L.A. news market is a cut-throat environment full of high-paid prima donnas and legendary egos. Click here for a bitter off-camera exchange between then-KABC co-anchors Ann Martin and Paul Moyer.

You don’t hear much about Toyota anymore. She adroitly avoids the spotlight. But for those of you who wonder, after leaving the news biz, Toyota, now 61, earned a Ph.D. in anthropology at UCLA where she is a featured lecturer in anthropology, Asian American Studies and the media. She is also a force in alumni affairs and an advocate for human rights and Asian Pacific American causes. Toyota is married to politically influential Riviera Country Club CEO Michael R. Yamaki and lives in Brentwood.

Often dismissed as Asian eye candy although she had evolved into arguably one the market’s best non-scripted on-air talents, Toyota once rued that many of her fellow anchors refused to recognize her as an equal. Turns out the Portland-born Japanese American stood head and shoulders above her colleagues all along.

  • Know Your Local Asian Newscasters, Losanjealous, dated but bordering on bad taste.
  • Reporter “Tricia Takanawa” profiled here, here and waaay over here.
About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 103 other followers

%d bloggers like this: