Legendary news producer Lynne “Angel” Cooper Harvey, wife of broadcaster Paul Harvey, died Saturday, May 3, at the couple’s home in River Forest, Ill., following a long battle with leukemia. She was 92.
“Angel Harvey was a distinguished Phi Beta Kappa alumna of Washington University in St. Louis and also the recipient of an honorary doctor of humanities degree,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “She was a role model and inspiration for our students and graduates, and her stellar achievements in the field of journalism and broadcasting are equaled only by her love for education and by a deep concern for the arts and for those in need.
“She was a woman with a gracious, generous heart and she will be missed by this community,” Wrighton added. “Washington University extends its deepest condolences to her husband, Paul Harvey, and their son, Paul Harvey Jr.”
Born and raised in St. Louis, Angel — as she was universally known — earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English from Washington University. Hired to develop a program on education for St. Louis radio station KXOK-AM, she soon met Paul, then a young reporter at the station. On their first date he proposed and the couple married in 1940.
During World War II Paul joined the Army Air Corps and Angel moved to his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she took a job with the local CBS affiliate. There she became one of the first women in the nation to run an entire radio broadcast, spinning records and reading the news from 4 p.m. to midnight.
In 1944 the Harveys moved to Chicago and soon launched “Paul Harvey News” on ABC affiliate WENR-AM. With Angel as producer, the program quickly became the most listened-to newscast in Chicago and helped pioneer the 10 p.m. newscast, which soon became a national standard.
In 1951 the ABC Radio Networks began broadcasting “Paul Harvey News and Comment” on stations coast-to-coast and in 1976 expanded “The Rest of the Story” — a long-running feature on “News and Comment” — into its own broadcast. Both shows would reach an estimated 25 million listeners on more than 1,200 radio stations as well as 400 Armed Forces Network stations around the world.
In 1968 Paul and Angel launched “Paul Harvey Comments,” a nationally syndicated television series that ran for 20 years. It was soon joined by “Dilemma,” a prototype for the television talk-show genre. In 1997 Angel became the first producer inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame and in 2001 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from American Women in Radio and Television.
A dedicated alumna of Washington University, Harvey was a Life Member of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society’s Danforth Circle and a member of the Phoenix and Chicago Regional Cabinets. In 1997 she received a Founders Day Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2001 received the Robert S. Brookings Award for her support and advocacy on behalf of the university.
In 1999 Harvey established the Lynne Cooper Harvey Distinguished Chair in English, held by Wayne Fields, professor of English and director of the American Culture Studies Program, both in Arts & Sciences. In 2000 she created the Lynne Cooper Harvey Fellowships, which support graduate students in American Culture Studies, and in 2003 created the Lynne Cooper Harvey American Culture Studies Scholars program, which supports undergraduate students.
The annual Lynne Cooper Harvey Writing Prize, awarded for outstanding writing about American Culture Studies, is named in her honor. In 2004 Harvey dedicated the June S. Courson Courtyard, part of the university’s new Earth & Planetary Sciences Building, in memory of her sister.