Allison Payne, Longtime Chicago TV News Anchor, Dies At 57 – Allison Payne, the longtime TV news reporter anchor for Chicago’s WGN, died.
Allison Payne, Longtime Chicago TV News Anchor, Dies At 57:
Allison Payne, a former WGN-TV reporter and a native of Detroit, Michigan, died at 57, the channel confirmed on September 10. She had anchored numerous shows, including the primetime 9 pm newscast, earning her a number of Emmys.
The sudden death of Payne was confirmed by WGN, through a statement. The channel’s Entertainment reporter Dean Richards also took to social media to announce Payne’s death, with a heartfelt tweet that said, “I’m so sad to report the death of former WGN TV anchor, Allison Payne in her hometown of Detroit. She co-anchored WGN News for 21 years earning 9 Emmys. Allison suffered a series of health issues although a cause of death has not been released. She was 57. RIP my friend.” Some of the other journalists who lost their lives in the recent past include, Gary Waddell, Janet Malcolm, and Robin Miller.
Since Payne was so private about her personal life, there is very little information about her husband if any. According to some of the reports, the local reporter was married to a man named Bobby Richardson, and that the pair tied in the knot in 2004. However, she had never confirmed her relationship with Richardson, leaving a number of outlets to contemplate if perhaps Richardson and Payne were dating each other but never really got hitched.
Allison Payne, Ex-WGN Journalist And Winner Of 9 Emmys, Dead:
Payne was previously married to a man named Don Riggs. Similar to Richardson, there is no information available on Riggs except the fact that his marriage with Payne did not last long and the pair separated due to personal differences. It is not known whether they had any kids from their marriage.
In its statement, WGN too alluded to her health issues but did not say what exactly caused Payne’s death. In January and August 2008, Payne went on medical leave after suffering a series of mini-strokes. That led to her announcing an indefinite leave of absence in November 2008 and admitted in January 2009 that she was being treated for depression. “It was brutal getting out of the house, I couldn’t get out of bed,” she said in an interview.
Payne did make a return in 2009 but went off-air in January 2011. She confirmed a few weeks later that it was because “I’m having trouble with my vocal cords.” A series of unprofessional on-air appearances, including slurring of words, glassy-eyed gazes, and sobbing led to massive criticisms, forced the channel to demote her from the 5:30 pm and 9:00 pm newscast. Payne never revealed the details of what was ailing her, but after several attempts to get back, decided to end her career in September 2011. “After a series of unfortunate health events, Payne and WGN parted ways in September 2011 as she returned to her hometown of Detroit,” WGN said in its statement.
Tributes quickly poured in for Payne. “Allison was a sweet, kind woman; a great anchor, who had an adorable smile. She suffered a lot of health issues the last several years,” Roland S. Martin wrote. “Gone so soon.”
Emmy winning WGN-TV journalist Vicky Baftiri mourned the loss of her friend tweeting, “I’m heartbroken. Allison Payne was my TV godmother, my mentor, my beloved friend. I wish I could’ve saved her like she protected me when I first started this crazy career. She was fiercely smart, beautiful, generous. I can’t believe she’s gone.”
Afua S. Owusu, an exec producer on CW26’s “The Jam,” recalled watching Payne as “a little black girl living in Bolingbrook, IL. My parents moved my bedtime to 9:30p so that I could watch the nightly news with @AllisonPayneTV & Steve Sanders…. A decade+ later, I started working at WGN. @allisonsnews took me under her wing. She was kind, gracious and an incredibly talented journalist. Allison Payne understood the importance of lifting others up so they too could have an opportunity to shine.”