A news reporter in difficult times, he has been on the field in shoot-outs, strikes and protests. His work is honored by colleagues and fans alike.
William Deiz is a former Los Angeles news reporter and anchor who won a Los Angeles Emmy from live coverage of the shootout between the Symbionese Liberation Army, kidnappers of Patty Hearst, and Los Angeles Police. Deiz is featured In the recent CNN Documentary Series: The Radical Story of Patty Hearst.In the documentary, Deiz and his crew are seen dodging bullets fired by the SLA. During the live broadcast, Deiz remarked that “there are no atheists in fox holes.”
Deiz served as a Marine Corps Rifleman during the Vietnam War buildup and then as a Commissioned Officer in the US Navy Reserve with training duty at both the Pentagon and the US Naval Academy.. He received honorable discharges from both the Marine Corps and the Navy, where he attained the rank of Lieutenant, Senior Grade, equivalent to a Captain in the Marine Corps.
Bill’s father Carl and uncle Robert, both Tuskegee Airmen, acted as role models while he was growing up in Portland, Oregon. Bob flew more than 90 combat missions, including gun fights in which he destroyed Luftwaffe planes, while Carl served in the United States of America.
Deiz was the first African American employed by KGW TV, the NBC station in Portland, as a news reporter. When Columbia University launched the first-ever summer program for broadcast journalists of color in 1968, Deiz was in the inaugural class. Later, he became one of the first African-American news anchors in Los Angeles.
When then-Governor Tom McCall appointed his mother, Mercedes F. Deiz, to the District Court, she became the state’s first African American female judge. She then ran for and was elected to the position of Circuit Court Judge, a position she held until her retirement.