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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

HARTZ, JAMES L. (1940–2022).

Broadcast journalist James L. "Jim" Hartz was born on February 3, 1940, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the Rev. Marvin Dillard and Helen Elvira Potter Hartz. Graduating from Tulsa Central High School in 1958, Jim Hartz attended the University of Tulsa, where he was a premedical student. After three years he realized that it was journalism and television, rather than medicine, that interested him. In 1962 he made his first television appearance in a University of Tulsa production called Galaxy, sponsored by KTUL-TV. Apprenticeships at Tulsa radio stations KOME and KRMG led him to an opportunity hosting the Sun Up morning show on Tulsa's KOTV in 1962. His experience at KOTV provided him with beneficial exposure, leading to his discovery by an NBC talent scout. As an NBC reporter he covered the Apollo space missions, the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, and Robert F. Kennedy's funeral. A substitute host on the Today Show, in 1974 he replaced Frank McGee as co-anchor with Barbara Walters.

Throughout his long career with NBC, Hartz has earned five Emmy Awards and two Ace Awards for cable television. He has written several cover articles for National Geographic and Reader's Digest. In addition he has provided narration for various television documentaries. He was the first individual inducted into the University of Tulsa Communication Hall of Fame. He is also represented in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1990), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame (1995), and the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame (2003). He has served as chairman of the board of commissioners of the Will Rogers Memorial. He married Norma Turnbo with whom he had three children: Jana, John, and Nancy. Divorced, he married Alexandra Dickson. At the end of the twentieth century, he resided in Alexandria, Virginia. Hartz died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Fairfax County, Virginia, on April 17, 2022.

Dustin O'Connor

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Les Brown, Les Brown's Encyclopedia of Television (3d ed.; Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Inc., 1992).

Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 2 February 1995 and 2 March 2003.

"Jim Hartz," Vertical File, Oklahoma Room, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma City.

Barbara Nykoruk, Authors in the News, Vol. 2 (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Inc., 1976).

Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 31 August 1974 and 15 June 1975.


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Dustin O'Connor, “Hartz, James L.,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=HA040.

Published January 15, 2010
Last updated June 10, 2022

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