Longtime WGN anchor Jack Taylor dead at 94

The anchor, who had a seven-decade career in news, led WGN’s nightly news broadcast throughout the 1970s, working alongside Harry Volkman and Jack Brickhouse.

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Jack Taylor

Jack Taylor

Sun-Times files

Jack Taylor, the old-school news anchor who graced Chicagoans’ televisions on WGN for more than 20 years, died of heart failure over the weekend, the station announced Sunday.

He was 94.

Taylor, who had a seven-decade career in journalism, worked alongside Len O’Connor, Harry Volkman and Jack Brickhouse and became something of a legend himself.

He anchored WGN’s nightly newscast for several years.

Though he rose through the ranks and became a household name in the Chicago area, Taylor had a somewhat unorthodox start in the industry. In the Army at the age of 17, an officer took notice of Taylor, WGN reported.

“An officer walked by and said, Hey kid, hey kid, who are you?’” said Taylor’s daughter, Sherry Taylor Aleksich. “And [Taylor] said, ‘I’m a private in the Jeep pool’. And [the officer] said, ‘We need an announcer in Fort Knox,’ and that’s how he got started.”

Taylor remained proud of WGN’s success as an independent station rivaling network affiliates CBS and NBC. Reminiscing in an interview with Chicago media reporter Robert Feder in 2020, Taylor recalled the success of the network’s 10 p.m. broadcast.

“In the early ’70s, [WGN station boss] Sheldon Cooper called me to congratulate me. He said: ‘Our 10 o’clock news has beaten Channel 2 and Channel 5 in the ratings,” he told Feder at the time.

A wake for Taylor will be held Friday at the Kristan Funeral Home in Mundelein. His funeral is set for Saturday at Community Protestant Church at 11 a.m., according to WGN.

Correction: An earlier version of this obituary incorrectly said the WGN nightly newscast was called “Chicago’s Very Own.”

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