In Memoriam

Pioneering Former WNBC Meteorologist Frank Field Dies at 100

He was also known for his remarkable health reporting and his frequent appearances on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Dr. Frank Field, a pioneering former WNBC meteorologist and health reporter, died Saturday in Florida at 100.

Field began his career in New York at WNBC in 1958. 

He quickly rose to national prominence when Johnny Carson decided needling “NBC’s crack meteorologist” would be good fun and he became a regular guest on “The Tonight Show.”

Field matched wits with the popular comedian, somehow managing to maintain his dignity and air of authority.

But Field did occasionally retaliate – on the 11 o’clock news during his weather report, like when he skewered a cut-out figure of Carson with his prop pointer.

He may have given NBC management ulcers, but the viewers loved it.

Field learned meteorology at Brown University and MIT and served as an Army Air Force meteorology officer in the European theater during World War II.

He also earned a degree in geology at Brooklyn College, a Bachelor’s degree in optometry at Columbia University, and a doctorate on the faculty of Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 

He deployed that broad skill set at NBC, adding health and science reporting to his broadcast portfolio.

In 1983, in a daring television news broadcast, Field covered a kidney transplant live – from first incision to final suture.

And in another daring move that continues to save lives, Field introduced the NBC audience to the Heimlich maneuver before the medical establishment embraced it.

Field’s son and daughters followed in his professional footsteps, with son Storm and daughter Allison also on the air at other local stations.

After 25 years with the peacock network’s WNBC, Field left to join rival WCBS, and ended his television career at WWOR in 2004.

He spent his post-TV weather forecasting years campaigning for fire safety.

Field’s wife of 75 years died several months ago. He is survived by his three children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

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