From screen to stage to taxis: A celebration of Sandy Kenyon's remarkable career

ByDavid Novarro and Emily Hartmann & Rolando Pujol WABC logo
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
A celebration of Sandy Kenyon, from screen to stage to taxis
As Sandy Kenyon enters a new, off-camera role at the ABC station group, he sat down with David Novarro to reflect on his epic career.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- For 47 years, Sandy Kenyon has interviewed the famous, the powerful, and the influential, but after Sunday's Oscars telecast, Sandy will step into a new, off-camera role for the ABC Owned Television Stations.

We're taking this milestone moment to look back on his remarkable career in a wide-ranging conversation, above, between Eyewitness News anchor David Novarro and Sandy.

Sandy shared the moment as a child when he realized he wanted to be in the business, when he caught the filming of a scene from the 1964 Peter Sellers' movie "The World of Henry Orient," right across the street from his home on the Upper East Side.

He was hooked, instantly.

Luckily for Sandy, the Kenyon family would move to California, and by the age of 16, he was carrying coffee on the Paramount lot, a plumb job in an era when studios were all but impenetrable to outsiders.

Not long after, Sandy entered the world of journalism while still at Princeton University, snagging an interview with legendary actor Henry Fonda for the national radio show "Focus on Youth," produced by the media wunderkind Garth Ancier.

By 1980, Sandy Kenyon found himself in Atlanta for one of the most important moments in television-news history: The launch of CNN. He was given the enviable role of producing and writing for the great anchorman Bernard Shaw, who became Sandy's mentor. Sandy later served as CNN's chief entertainment correspondent in Los Angeles, delivering his signature "Hollywood Minute" segments.

As Sandy's career evolved, his voice would become an iconic part of America's most-listened-to radio station, 1010 WINS, with his entertainment-news segments.

By February 2005, Sandy was part of the WABC-TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News team. It was while at the station that he began covering the Oscars at the behest of the station's news director. Fortunately, from his years in Hollywood, Sandy had formed a friendship with veteran Academy Awards producer Gil Cates. Sandy scored a hilarious interview with Chris Rock, then hosting for the first time, and unprecedented journalistic access to the Oscars stage before the broadcast.

Watch the memorable interview here:

Back in 2005, Sandy Kenyon scored a hilarious interview with Chris Rock, then hosting for the first time, and unprecedented journalistic access to the Oscars stage before the broadcast.

He was the first Eyewitness News reporter at the scene in 2008 when Heath Ledger's death in SoHo shocked the world, and was able perhaps better than any other journalist to put his death into the wider context of his impact on Hollywood and popular culture.

It was one of countless moments of memorable coverage from Sandy, whose deft touch added substance to so many stories, from high-wattage theatrical releases, Broadway spectaculars, and the obituaries of celebrities, some of whom he knew well.

In February 2015, Sandy made a surprise cameo on ABC's "General Hospital," playing a prison guard.

You can watch his soap-opera debut, below.

In February 2015, Sandy Kenyon made a surprise cameo on ABC's "General Hospital," playing a prison guard.

He was introduced to millions of more people yearly through his entertainment reports that appeared on video screens in the back of New York City taxi cabs.

His last one ran this week, in which he offered a farewell to his loyal audience of locals and tourists alike. You can watch his final taxi report, below:

Sandy Kenyon has been a key member of the Taxi TV team since it launched in 2007. Now, as he wraps his on-air career he says farewell to the riders.

Sandy's last formal interview was, appropriately enough, with Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel.

See the emotional final moments of the interview in the video, below.

Jimmy Kimmel sits down with entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon

Jimmy Kimmel used his Instagram account to take a moment to salute Sandy's incredible career.

Before his last day with Eyewitness News, Sandy appeared on the Tamron Hall Show, talking about his career and his exciting new role within ABC.

He will serve as a tactical resource for Debra OConnell, president, Networks and TV Business Operations, Disney Entertainment Television, and report to Chad Matthews, president, ABC Owned Television Stations. He will work closely with OTV entertainment reporting teams to develop and implement strategies aimed at enhancing coverage and reach.

RELATED: Sandy Kenyon welcomes Joelle Garguilo to the Eyewitness News family

"I am truly privileged to be presented with such a unique opportunity by Debra and Chad, who continue to transform our business through relentless innovation," Sandy said. "I've had a front-row seat - literally! - to the biggest events and talent that have shaped the entertainment industry since my early days with CNN, and there's no company better equipped to tell the stories behind the storytellers than Disney."

And we're glad Sandy will be staying in the family.