The Real Ron Burgundy Was A Local News Anchor? [VIDEOS]
“Stay classy, Detroit” probably wasn’t his signature catchphrase, but the inspiration for ‘Anchorman’ Ron Burgundy was a Motor City news man for almost two decades.
Following his run on ‘Saturday Night Live’, Will Ferrell had several supporting roles on the big screen. But the inspiration for his big break came one night in 2000 while at home watching an A&E ‘Biography’ special. It was about Jessica Savitch, a news reporter who, at 26-years-old, became the first female news anchor in a major television market. It wasn’t Jessica that piqued his interest, it was her co-anchor. That anchorman’s name: Mort Crim.
Crim anchored the news at Philadelphia’s KYW-TV in the early-1970s before spending almost two decades as news anchor at WDIV in good ol’ D-town beginning in 1978.
Although he was initially anchoring solo at KYW, he did have his news team made up of a weather, sports and an investigative reporter… all male. In those days, only men reported the news. That is until 1974 when Jessica Savitch became his co-anchor.
While looking back with an honest take on his perspective in the 70s, Crim said,
“I liked woman, but I wasn’t sure their place was sitting beside me on an anchor set, doing what I did.”
In the movie, Brian Fantana had a very similar line,
“Don’t get me wrong, I love the ladies. I mean they rev my engines, but they don’t belong in the newsroom!”
Check out Mort Crim’s segment in Jessica Savitch’s Biography below:
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Savitch eventually went on to host ‘NBC Nightly News’ in 1977, just three years after joining Crim in Philly, but died in a car accident in 1983. Her life was the inspiration for the 1996 film ‘Up Close And Personal’ starring Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Crim was in the running to host ‘ABC World News’ but that gig ended up going to the late Peter Jennings. After winning the battle against colon cancer, he retired in 2007. When asked about his thoughts on inspiring the blockbuster film, in 2004 Crim said, “I think I’ll have a lot of chuckles when I see it.” He also offered some advice to Will Ferrell on achieving the authenticity of the character by saying, “He needs lime green polyester pants, and sideburns down to his ankles.”