Merri Dee Biography
Born Mary Francine Dorham in Chicago, Illinois, Merri Dee was an American television journalist and philanthropist. She was best known as an anchor/reporter for superstation WGN-TV (Channel 9) from 1972 until 1983 and director of community relations from 1983 until 2008. Dee served as president and member of the leadership council of the Illinois chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) from 2009 until her death in 2022.
Merri Dee Age and Birthday
Born on October 30, 1936, Dee was 85 years old when she passed away. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and celebrated her birthdays on October 30th each passing year. The journalist died on March 16, 2022.
Merri Dee Family
Dee was born in Chicago, Illinois to her parents; John Blouin, her father who was a postal worker, and Ethel Dorham, her mother. Unfortunately, Dee’s mother died in 1939 when Dee was two years old. Following her mother’s death, Dee’s father remarried her stepmother. She did not have a good relationship with her stepmother who abused her and later sent her to an orphanage Dee had five siblings.
Merri Dee Husband
Dee was married to her husband Nicolas Fulop from 1999 until her death in March 2022. The television journalist had been married twice with her first marriage being when she was a teenager. Her first marriage bore her daughter Toya Monet.
Merri Dee Children (Son and Daughter)
Dee had two children; a daughter Toya Monet, and an adopted son Attorney Richard H. Wright. Dee and her husband Nicolas Fulop did not have biological children. Their daughter Toya Monet is from Dee’s first marriage and their son Attorney Richard H. is adopted.
Merri Dee Career and WGN-TV
Dee’s first job in journalism was a hosting job at radio station WBEE located in Harvey, Illinois. She then began hosting an entertainment program at WCIU-TV (channel 26) on Saturday nights. In 1971, Dee became the host of The Merri Dee Show, a local talk show on then WSNS (channel 44, now a Telemundo-owned-and-operated station). Moreover, in 1972, she started working at WGN-TV as an anchor for the station’s 10 p.m newscast.
Dee spend 11 years at WGN-TV in various on-air positions before moving to an off-air position by becoming the station’s director of community development and manager of WGN-TV Children’s Charities in 1984. She remained the manager of WG-TV Children’s Charities until her retirement in the fall of 2008. She helped WGN-TV raise $31 million in donations for the station’s various charity initiatives during that tenure.
Dee subsequently joined the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Women for the City of Chicago and became a member of the volunteer Executive Council of the Illinois chapter of AARP, before being appointed AARP State President a year later. She was serving in that position until her death in March 2022.
Merri Dee 1971 Kidnapping
Dee survived an attack by a kidnapper in 1971. On July 17, 1971, Dee and a guest on her show, amateur psychic Alan Sandler, were kidnapped and shot which resulted in Sandler’s death. Upon returning to the WSNS-TV studios after grabbing dinner, Dee and Sandler were approached by 21-year old Samuel Drew while sitting in Dee’s car. Drew then made Dee drive to a remote area where he shot both Dee and Sandler twice in the back of their heads at point-blank range, then dumping them out of the car and driving off. Dee managed to crawl to a highway where she was rescued and taken to a hospital, being treated for her wounds. Doctors did not expect Dee to survive from her wounds and twice was given her last rites, including one by personal friend Reverend Jesse Jackson. (source: Wikipedia)
Merri Dee Death and Cause of Death
Dee died on March 16, 2022, at the age of 85 years. According to her family, Dee died peacefully in her sleep. Following her death, a statement from her family read:
With great sadness, our family announces the loss of our beloved matriarch, the brightest light in our lives, Merri Dee, who died peacefully in her sleep at home. The statement further read: ” As you can imagine our family is simply heartbroken and ask for privacy at this time.
Dee is survived by her husband Nicolas Fulop, and their two children; daughter Toya Monet and son Attorney Richard H. Wright.
Merri Dee Net worth
Dee had an estimated net worth of $30 million. She had a long successful career in journalism working in various TV stations including WGN-TV where she worked for 11 years in on-air positions and 24 years in an off-air position as a director of community development and manager of WGN-TV Children’s Charities. Her fortune is succeded by her husband and two children.