Legendary WXYZ anchor Diana Lewis to retire after more than 35 years on 7 Action News

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) - After a career that has spanned more than four decades in broadcasting, Diana Lewis will retire from WXYZ-TV, Channel 7.  Lewis, one of the most recognized and respected faces on Detroit television, has been an anchor on 7 Action News for more than 35 years.

PHOTO GALLERY: Diana Lewis, a TV legend through the years

VIDEO ARCHIVE: Classic Diana Lewis clips

UPDATE: Diana Lewis will sit down for an interview during 7 Action News at 5 p.m. tonight. Later, during the 6 p.m. newscast, she will have a message for viewers. 

"The impact Diana Lewis has had upon television and Detroit is immeasurable," said Ed Fernandez, WXYZ Vice-President and General Manager.  "We have been incredibly fortunate to work with such a great journalist and Detroit has been fortunate to have such a strong, dedicated voice serving our community.  Diana is the consummate professional and an iconic figure in the industry."

Diana has been a pioneer in the business since 1968 when she first signed on the air at WPVI-TV in Philadelphia.  Her first television show, called "Black Book," focused on issues affecting the African- American community.  She went on to become a news anchor and consumer reporter at the station before joining KABC in Los Angeles as the weekend anchor and consumer reporter.  

While in Los Angeles, Lewis also made a name for herself as an actress with performances opposite  Sylvester Stallone in the box office favorites, "Rocky" and "Rocky 5."  She also appeared on TV shows including "The Twilight Zone," "Hunter," "The Gary Shandling Show," "Murder She Wrote," "The Million Dollar Caper," and "All My Children."

In 1977, Diana Lewis joined WXYZ-TV and was paired with legendary newsman Bill Bonds on 7 Action News.  They quickly became an iconic pair and Detroit's number one news team.  

"It was the warmth I felt for people that really helped connect me to the viewers," said Lewis.  "It was part of my mission, to make a difference in the lives of everyone I met."

Diana has been honored with numerous awards, including the Silver Circle Award from the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences.  The organization also recognized her outstanding work with two Emmy Awards and the Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2008, she was inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  She is one of only seven women and two African-Americans to receive the honor. In 2012, Diana was also inducted into the Michigan State Journalism Hall of Fame, joining the likes of Maya Angelou and Alice Walker.

In 2002, Diana was named by CORP magazine as one of Michigan's 95 Most Powerful Women. The Detroit City Council recognized Diana Lewis for her service to the community with an official proclamation in 2006.  In 2007, the Detroit News named her Best Local TV Anchor and in 2011, The Michigan Chronicle recognized her as one of their Women in Excellence. Also in 2011, Diana was awarded the "Heart of HAVEN Award". Earlier this year, she was inducted into the Variety: Children's Charity Hall of Fame.

Lewis has worked passionately for the advancement of women and to improve her community.  Her work includes the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program.  She was invited to speak before the Michigan Senate on the issue of organ donation laws and remains the only newscaster to have been invited to the Senate floor.

During her career, she has also supported the American Heart Association, the City of Hope, and Focus HOPE.  

Throughout her career, Diana says she always tried to make a difference in people's lives.  "The most important thing you can do is to make someone feel that their life is truly worthwhile," said Lewis.

Diana and her husband Glenn have two daughters; Donna, who works at Henry Ford Hospital, and Glenda, a reporter and anchor at WXYZ.  Diana and Glenda made journalism history as the first mother/daughter television news team when they co-anchored the 11 p.m. news on the eve of Mother's Day in 2004.

"I've had the most amazing career," said Lewis.  "The people I've met, the lives I've touched, and every life I've touched has touched me as well.  The passion I felt the day I drove through the gates at Channel 7 is the same passion I still feel today.  I will always be involved in the community, I will always be part of the Channel 7 family…I'm just excited to start this new chapter in my life."

WXYZ will celebrate Diana Lewis's legendary career and her contributions to Detroit broadcasting through special events and programming throughout August and September.  Lewis's last day anchoring 7 Action News will be October 3, 2012.

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