Who is Merri Dee?
Merri Dee was an American philanthropist and television journalist. She served as an anchor and reporter at WGN-TV Channel in Chicago, Illinois from 1972 to 1983. In addition, Dee served as the president of the Illinois branch of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and a member of its executive council from 2009 until her death in 2022.
Merri Dee Age | Birthday
Dee was born on October 30, 1963 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Until her untimely death, she was 85 years old.
Merri Dee Family
Dee was born to Ethel Dorham and her father, John Blouin. Her mother went into labor while traveling to Chicago with her husband for work, since they were going back and forth across Chicago and New Orleans. Dee, the youngest of her five siblings, was brought up in New Orleans after her mother passed away when she was two years old in 1939. Four years after her mother’s death, Dee’s father married again. Her stepmother mistreated her and eventually abandoned her in an orphanage.
Merri Dee Husband | Children
Dee’s first marriage was in her late teenage years and gave birth to a daughter named Toya Monet. She married her second husband, Nicolas Fulop, in 1999 a marriage that lasted long until her death in March 2022. Dee has left two children, daughter Monet and adopted son Attorney Richard H. Wright as well as grand son Julian Alexander Wright.
Merri Dee Net Worth
Dee had an estimated net worth of $ 1 million from her career as a journalist as well as as the president of AARP.
Merri Dee Career As a Journalist
In 1968, Dee started hosting an entertainment show on Saturday nights on the emerging independent station WCIU (channel 26). She assumed the role of presenter of The Merri Dee Program, a local discussion show on then-independent station WSNS, in 1971. She joined the 10 p.m. broadcast of then-independent station WGN-TV in 1972.
After eleven years on-air at WGN-TV in multiple roles, she decided to move into an off-air leadership role as the station’s director of community development and manager of WGN-TV Children’s Charities in 1984. She managed to stay until her retirement from the station in late 2008, raising $31 million in donations for the station’s several charity projects during that time.
Merri Dee As a Philanthropist
Adding to her service on television and radio, Dee has volunteered for a number of charities and organizations. In 1992, she assisted in the drafting of the country’s first Victims’ Bill of Rights, which was enacted by the Illinois state legislature. The bill served as an inspiration for other states to establish their respective victim’s rights legislation.
In 1998, then-Illinois governor Jim Edgar congratulated Dee and WGN-TV for helping to boost the number of adopted children in the state by more than 50%. Lewis University awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humanities to Dee in 2000. The same year, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave her the Silver Circle Award the following year.
Merri Dee Alan Sandler
Dee and a guest on her show, amateur psychic Alan Sandler, were kidnapped and shot on July 17, 1971, resulting in Sandler’s death. Dee and Sandler were returning to the WSNS-TV studios after eating supper when they were approached by 21-year-old Samuel Drew while seated in Dee’s car.
Samuel then forced Dee to drive to an isolated location where he shot both Dee and Sandler twice in the back of their heads at point-blank range before throwing them out of the car and driving away. Dee crawled to a roadway, where she was rescued and sent to a hospital to be treated for her injuries. Doctors didn’t really expect Dee to survive her injuries, and she was given her last rituals twice, including once by Reverend Jesse Jackson, a close friend.
Merri Dee Cause of Death
Dee passed away peacefully in her sleep according to her family.
Merri Dee Books
-Life Lessons on Faith
-Forgiveness & Grace