Longtime Detroit TV anchor Rich Fisher dies

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Longtime Detroit news anchor Rich Fisher died Friday after a battle with cancer of the esophagus, according to family. He was 67.

"Rich was so dedicated to the city of Detroit," said Mary Conway, who worked with Fisher for years at WXYZ-TV (Channel 7). "He knew the city like the back of his hand. He had tremendous perspective because he knew it so well."

Fisher was known to many Metro Detroiters as the back-up to former Channel 7 anchor Bill Bonds until the early 1990s, when CBS lured him away as their principal anchor at WJBK-TV. When Fox-TV bought out Channel 2 in 1994, Fisher stayed with the new network until leaving in 1997 to spend more time with his family.

He later anchored the 11 p.m. nightly news at WWJ (Channel 62) until 2002.

Fisher started his broadcast career with an Alpena radio station in 1968 and was the recipient of awards including the 1993 Michigan Associated Press Award and a 1986 national award from the American Bar Association, according to WJBK-TV (Channel 2). He also secured an Emmy for his broadcasting.

One constant among all his assignments was a selfless, caring nature, according to daughter Stephanie Inman, 26.

"He loved ferociously. He spent his whole life making sure everybody knew how important they were," Inman said. "Everything that he could do for us was so above and beyond and extra."

Fisher steadfastly supported his four children, including Inman's younger sister, Allison, who grew up with dreams of the big stage.

"All she wanted to do was to be an actress, or (write) screenplays or (be on) Broadway," Inman said. "(Our dad) was all about that."

The kids spent years tagging along with their dad to Tigers games, Pistons games and other events, according to Inman.

"Anything we could do all together," she said. "We were always really, really tight knit. Dad always just wanted to be together."

Inman counted herself lucky to be Fisher's daughter.

"I know that’s my dad and I can be a bit biased," she said. "But he was extraordinary and I’m thankful I got to have him as my dad."

Former colleague Jerry Hodak in 1995 experienced Fisher's selflessness firsthand, when the two worked at WJBK-TV (Channel 2) and requested time off during the same week. Hodak had plans to visit his mother in Florida for her birthday, he said.

"(Fisher) actually canceled his vacation so he could sit in for me for a couple weeks," Hodak said. "We had a close relationship as colleagues. He was always very cordial and we got along together. I had a high regard for him and he was easy to work with, which isn’t always the case in this business."

Conway described working with Fisher as part of a "close knit" team at WXYZ-TV (Channel 7).

"Fisher was a blast to work with; he was a very fun guy," Conway said. "I don't think you'll ever find anybody who would say a bad word about him. He was a hoot, and he just had the best laugh."

Fisher received his cancer diagnosis in July, a few months before Conway's October visit.

"He was very upbeat and positive and very proud of his children and how they had have rallied to help him," Conway said. "He was a sweet guy."

Fisher is survived by Inman and her husband Bryan; sons Bill and Richard Fisher; daughter Allison Fisher; and brothers Jim and John Fisher. He also leaves behind ex-wife and "best friend" Mary Kelso Fisher, Inman said.


(313) 223-4616