Dorothy Fuldheim was a legend of Cleveland television. By the late 1960s, she had already been the undisputed leader of Cleveland TV newscasting and commentary for 20 years. She had interviewed major historical and cultural figures, from Adolf Hitler to John Kennedy to Muhammad Ali, and even though she was well into her 70s she gave a nightly commentary on what was going on in the world. And she continued to do so long after our family moved from Akron to Columbus and left the Cleveland broadcast area. Fuldheim did not retire until 1984, at age 91. She died five years later.
As a kid watching those broadcasts, I never gave a thought to the fact that Dorothy Fuldheim was female and a true trailblazer for women broadcasters. She was just Dorothy Fuldheim, on the air as she always was, giving her opinions with an absolute, unquestioned air of conviction and authenticity. It was obvious that she meant everything she said; she was Dorothy Fuldheim and didn’t need to cowtow to anyone. And her voice! There was a depth and genuineness to it. It was like the voice of the whole Midwest, coming from this one red-haired woman sitting behind the desk. It is no wonder that her career lasted as long as it did.
The YouTube clip below, in which Dorothy Fuldheim commemorates her 86th birthday, is a good example of her unique talents.