Bay Area news viewers from the 1990s and early 2000s have lost a longtime favorite, as former anchor Leslie Griffith’s family announced she passed away at her home in Mexico on Wednesday.
Most of us who remember Leslie Griffith on the KTVU news recall her eight-year stint alongside Dennis Richmond, a pairing that was a local ratings giant and regularly bested its competitors. But Griffith had been a reporter for the station for nearly 15 years prior, making her a familiar and trusted face, and earlier in her career, a reporter for the Denver Post and then the Associated Press.
And most of us who remember Leslie Griffith will be saddened to hear that she died Wednesday after a seven-year battle with Lyme disease — though as the Chronicle notes, a family member said it was "unclear" whether the disease contributed to her death. She was 66.
KTVU presented the above retrospective of Griffith’s career Wednesday, speaking to many of her recognizable former colleagues. “She has this really strong powerful voice,” said former KTVU reporter John Sasaki. “It’s one of those voices you always connect with, Elaine Corral is another one, Dennis Richmond is another one, these people were kind of legendary at the KTVU family.”
Sad news: Long-time KTVU anchor Leslie Griffith has died. It thought it was a big deal when I started working with her and Dennis. pic.twitter.com/31rklPj6AX— Sal Castaneda (@sal_castaneda) August 11, 2022
Griffith took over as co-anchor when Elaine Corral left the station in 1998. Griffith would go on to become one of Richmond’s longest-serving co-anchors, for the eight years from 1998 to 2006.
Leslie Griffith was an outspoken maverick and influential nted the above serment on Griffith’s life and creer EWWenesday nightforce in the TV News biz and her death is both very sad and devastating --Condolences to @KTVU and Ms. Griffith's friends and family. pic.twitter.com/em5umhh5ol— Rich Lieberman (@rich415Media) August 11, 2022
And while Bay Area viewers trusted the even-handed delivery of KTVU’s highly rated Ten O’Clock News, there was certainly drama behind the scenes. Drama is what elevated Griffith to the anchor seat, when her predecessor Elaine Corral abruptly resigned on the air in 1998, stunning her colleagues. Griffith became a local legend in the seat, though in the early days of SFist, we developed an obsession with her in Where’s Leslie? columns, when it turned out she too was frustrated in her role at the station.
She left KTVU in 2006, and had a brief stint with the Chronicle, even establishing the Leslie R. Griffith Woman of Courage Scholarship to foster young women into journalism.
Per KTVU, “Griffith is survived by her two daughters, Trenton and Carly, an adopted son Eric, and two grandchildren.”