Official NBC10 Photo
Eddie (not a typo) Lou T. Huggins (The T is for her maiden name, Thompson) was one of Philadelphia's most accomplished news journalists. Born on Wednesday, August 14, 1935, She began her career in television at WCAU-TV (owned by CBS at the time) in January of 1966, as a feature reporter on the BIG NEWS TEAM WITH JOHN FACENDA. Broadcast Pioneers member John Facenda always referred to her as "Edith."
For Channel 10, Broadcast Pioneers member Edie Huggins has anchored and co-anchored the news, interviewed scores of personalities and newsmakers, reported on countless news stories, along with presenting memorable investigative series on a variety of subjects.
You might remember back in the early 70's, when Edie and Broadcast Pioneers member Herb Clarke co-hosted "What's Happening," a midday news program. During 1974 through 1976, Edie hosted "Morningside," a morning (9 am to 10 am) magazine show featuring interviews with celebrities and politicians, along with segments on health, finance and entertainment.
Edie was one of the station's most celebrated news correspondents. She gave much of her professional life to serving her community and being a strong advocate for many causes. She continued to serve on many boards throughout the greater Philadelphia region. Edie was one of the founding members of the National Association of Black Journalists. The organization honored her in 2005.
In1993, Edie was honored by the Philadelphia Chapter of American Women in Radio and Television as Communicator of the Year. She was into our Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia's "Hall of Fame" on Friday, November 22, 2002. She was chosen by the Urban League of Philadelphia as one of “the Outstanding African-American Philadelphians of the 20th Century.”
In 2006, Philadelphia City Council declared March 30th “Edie Huggins Day.” A resolution was adopted to honor Huggins’ more than 40 years of accurate news reporting and dedication to the City of Philadelphia. She also received the 2006 Hall of Fame Award from AFTRA in April. Huggins continued to serve on many boards throughout the greater Philadelphia region. Giving back to the community, Huggins created the “Huggins’s Hero” reports, a Friday segment profiling the heroic life of an ordinary person doing an extraordinary deed.
on the NBC-TV Soap "The Doctors"
She started as a college student at the University of Nebraska (where she became the first African American to be crowned "Miss Cornhusker" in 1954) where she was a music major on a scholarship. She couldn't go to the University of Missouri (in her home state because of segregation). Edie quit school when she married Air Force Officer Hastings Huggins.
After he retired from the service, the family moved to New York City where Hastings had a job with IBM. In the "Big Apple," Edie went back to school and was graduated cum laude, from the Plattburgh State University of New York, with a bachelor's degree in science. After graduation in 1963, she worked at both Bellevue and Flower-Fifth Avenue Hospitals in New York City as a registered nurse. At the same time, she made national headlines by doubling as an union actress in the role of Nurse Spencer and an unofficial consultant for the NBC daytime drama, "The Doctors."
I feel that my professional background in nursing gave me the edge over more experienced actresses in winning this part. I felt sure of myself when applying for the job, and this assurance paid off. Six months after arriving in New York to seek a career in show business, I had a part in a network show.
Edie also appeared on "The Edge of Night" and "The Love of Life," both produced by CBS Television. Edie was spotted on the Soap Opera by WCAU-TV Vice-President and General Manager Bruce R. Bryant and he invited her to audition for the upcoming extended hour-long "Big News with John Facenda" which the station was planning. Bryant was in NYC and dining in a restaurant when Edie (now divorced) entered with her date, jazz drummer Jo Jones. Bruce recognized Jones and extended an invitation for the couple to join Bryant for dinner. That night, he asked Huggins to audition for the Channel 10 position and the rest, as they say, is history. She won easily over the others and was offered the position with one change, her name. She was using Eddie for years. Named after her father, pharmacist Edward W. Thompson of St. Joseph, Missouri.
St. Joseph, Missouri
Learning to play the piano by age 7, Huggins became her broadcasting career in her hometown at the age of 14. KRES, a local radio station, ran a contest for a one-time only appearance on the station, but they were so impressed that they offered her a three-hour Saturday evening air shift, especially aimed for teenagers by teenagers. She was the city's first African American Disc Jockey. The show lasted for three years. While in high school, she was an honor student each year. She also played piano at her church and for community groups. She also knew how to play the Coronet and was in a marching band. Huggins had a role in the Sammy Davis movie, "A Man Called Adam." In 1975, she married her second husband, jazz pianist Ray Bryant. The marriage lasted until 1982.
Edie resided in the Philadelphia suburbs. In 2006, Huggins was cast in a starring role of an independent movie titled “So Big.” The movie debuted on May 3, 2007 at the International House in Philadelphia. She was the mother of two adult children: a son, Hastings Edward Huggins (born in 1955), Senior Administrator for IBM in Mableton, Georgia, and a daughter, Laurie (born in 1957), a marketing specialist here in Philadelphia.
Edie Huggins died on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at the age of 72.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Color Photo courtesy of WCAU, NBC-10
B&W Photos originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Edie Huggins
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