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A fond farewell to Sue Simmons of WNBC/4
WNBC/4,along with celebrities, sports stars, current and former anchors, and a famous New Yorker or two, today said goodbye to Sue Simmons, who wrapped a 32-year career as the other half of a team known simply as "Chuck and Sue" to a generation of viewers.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, "Today" co-anchor Matt Lauer, "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams and others have offered Simmons taped tributes during various news programs.
Simmons, one of New York TV news' (self-described) biggest Mets fans also got some fond farewell messages from current and former team members, including David Wright, Dwight Gooden and others.
The final farewell will air tonight at 11, Simmons' last broadcast.
"You are the quintessential New Yorker," Bloomberg said in his taped remarks.
"I'm old enough to have nice people come up to me and say, 'I grew up watching you,'" said Williams. "But Sue, I grew up watching you."
To say Simmons, who turned 69 last month, has been merely a TV anchor in New York doesn't even begin to describe her outsized role in the culture of the tri-state area during the past 30 years.
Congenial, flip (and in the early days, famously error-prone too at times, or as New York Magazine called her yesterday, "The Blooper Queen"), Simmons' style was intimately familiar to most New Yorkers. She was the looser half of the Simmons/Chuck Scarborough team, and for many if not most viewers, the more approachable half.
Together, these two commanded - sometimes at the pinnacle, sometimes not - the New York TV news empire, while their longevity in the nation's biggest city made them arguably the most famous anchor team in the country.
Simmons was also co-anchor of the old "Live at Five," a ground-breaking news program in the early '90s and part of the old "NewsCenter 4" afternoon block. It was at "Live" - co-hosted by one of her many, in her phrase, "anchor husbands," Jack Cafferty - that Simmons built her early popularity.
In recent years, Simmons had been anchor of the 6 and 11 p.m. broadcasts, but after returning from back surgery early in 2011, she retained only the later newscast. As such, there was a lot of catching up to do yesterday.
The 11 p.m. tribute is expected to include Simmons' own recollections of her many years here, after joining from Washington's WRC in 1980. (She has declined requests to speak about her departure.) Other recollections were expected from Scarborough, who joined Channel 4 in 1974, from Boston's WBZ. (Scarborough, 68, isn't going anywhere - he signed a new multiyear contract in March.)