Dick Shepard, who hosted shows on WNEW for more than twenty years, from the 1950’s into the ’70’s, died October 15. He had turned 90 on August 25th.
Bill Diehl on Dick Shepard
I arrived at WNEW in early 1967 and worked the overnight, often with Shep on “The Milkman’s Matinee.” We had lots of time to chat and I mentioned that my marriage was over and I was single again. Dick didn’t miss a beat and had to tell our audience that I was now one of New York’s most eligible bachelors. WNEW’s signal was really big at night and a few days later I got a letter in the mail from a woman in Maine with a picture of her, her mother and two children. The letter said “Mr.Diehl, if you’ll pay my travel expenses, (and my mother’s) I’ll be happy to come to New York to meet you.” I sent note back saying thanks but that wasn’t going to happen. Dick was the consummate professional. It was a pleasure working with him at the Big W.
Mitche Lebe on Dick Shepard
Dick was a tremendous talent and a friend. He entertained millions for decades on WNEW. And oh what a salesman. I especially loved his commercials for Air France.
Andy Fisher on Dick Shepard
Dick was the DJ on whose show I did my first part-time WNEW newscast. I was trying to move from writer/editor to newscaster, and Dick’s unfailing encouragement was a big part of that. He was gone when I finally made the move in 1974, but he knew how much that encouragement meant to me.
His departure from WNEW was the central event in the greatest story of bad timing I have ever heard. Al Wasser was the morning editor and, as a loyal WGA artist, was rarely seen on the premises after noon. One afternoon he came in to pick up his paycheck, and saw Shep standing in the hallway. “Hey, Shepard,” he cracked in his usual brusque way. “They haven’t fired you yet?” Dick smiled the faintest of smiles. “They just did, Al,” he said quietly. And they had!
Mike Eisgrau on Dick Shepard
Sad news about Dick. Of course my story goes back to two days before I started at WNEW News in 1967. Saturday, June 25th. I had just driven in from Chicago. Before I went to my apartment in Forest Hills, I went up to the second floor studios at 565 5th Avenue and 46th Street to see what my new surroundings would be like. In a hallway outside the studio I met Shepard. He warmly welcomed me to my new job as reporter/editor and we had a nice chat. As I left I said “Well, Gene, it has been a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to working with you and other folks in my new job.” His face turned sour and I was on his s… list for a long time. Frankly, I’d never heard of Dick Shepard—only Gene Shepard.
Let them both rest in peace.
Gary Alexander on Dick Shepard
It is difficult to comprehend how long I actually knew Dick Shepard. But I can tell you I was on the air with him…I flew through the air with him…and I shot plenty of breeze with him.
Dick Shepard was a large teddy bear…with a generous heart. When I was a young, part-time news guy at WNEW for Shepard’s show, Dick actually took a crazy chance and generously invited me to take the mike and repeat one of my silly off-mike comments to him ON THE AIR! Of course I never forgot that (fortunately he probably did!) We flew in his plane together.
He really WAS a helluva pilot. (I thought better than he was a driver!) When we landed at various airports in New Jersey and the Poconos it turns out he seemed to know even more people in the aeronautics circuit than in the restaurant realm. (Every time I bumped into Dick and Judy having dinner it was in the company of no fewer than nearly a dozen people.) Dick invited me into three of his homes…and brought me into the N.Y. Friars Club.
He could tell more stories than anyone I ever knew…and knew more stories than I…(which made it very difficult for me to sneak in one of mine that he didn’t already know). Happily, one of those stories was HIS being at MY wedding!
The times we spent together at Hemlock Farms in PA., including a memorable celebration of his 80th birthday at the humble Boat House were delightful…as was Dick’s more costly Sapphire Bombay Gin which he insisted was the more preferable to the plain Bombay, although he couldn’t really say why.
To say Dick Shepard WILL be missed sounds awfully cliche but it is more than that…because it is less than the truth. When Dick isn’t at Hemlock at his Canoe Drive place to me to drop by…; when the Shepard’s aren’t at dinner and I’m not vying for the next story…; when old “Shepard, Richard A witcha” ain’t on the air, whether it be WNEW, WPAT, WABC or WNYC, there’s gonna be a void, a vacuum, an empty place.
Dick Shepard is ALREADY missed.