In the mid-1960s, many people sat at home waiting for a call from "Dialing for Dollars" host Del Taylor. It meant a chance to win money in a daily cash giveaway. And it made him a constant -- and popular -- TV presence in many Pittsburgh area living rooms.
Del Taylor was the on-air name of Marion Del Vecchio, who suffered a heart attack in July and died Nov. 11 at Manor Care Rehab in Venice, Fla. He was 89.
He was born and raised in Rayland, Ohio. During World War II, he was a corporal with the Army Combat Engineers, serving in England, Germany and the Pacific.
He majored in journalism at Kent State University and went on to earn a master's degree in mass communications and public relations at Boston University.
The longtime Pittsburgh broadcaster spent more than two decades of his career at WTAE-TV. Mr. Del Vecchio started out in Dayton, Ohio, and Wheeling W.Va. He joined WTAE when it signed on in 1958 and remained there until 1980.
He was a versatile member of the team, working as an announcer, doing weather reports and hosting the popular "Dialing for Dollars," a daytime movie and cash giveaway show, where he would call viewers and give them a chance to win money. He also hosted the weekly teen dance show "Bandstand" in the '60s, and the public affairs show "Community Outreach" in the '70s.
Growing up with a dad who was a well-known TV personalty was "pretty wild. Everybody knew who you were," recalled his son Todd, of Penn Hills and Nokomis, Fla. "People were always stopping him for autographs. He was a big celebrity in Pittsburgh."
His daughter, Tracey Sartino of Las Vegas, said she spent a lot of time hanging out at the station with her father and meeting visiting celebrities who stopped by for TV appearances.
He had a sense of humor and a quick wit: In a 1966 interview in The Pittsburgh Press, he fired off a rapid series of quips. When asked what made his weather reports different, he replied: "One fall I said the trees were doing a striptease with their leaves."
Longtime Pittsburgh broadcaster Eleanor Schano was also part of the original WTAE air staff and worked with Mr. Del Vecchio. "I remember him as a very decent human being and a very good broadcaster and announcer," she said.
He also did stints on local radio at the former WTAE-AM and the former WJOI-FM.
In his spare time, he enjoyed gardening, hunting for early American antiques and Tiffany lamps to furnish the family home, and music.
In addition to his son and daughter, he is survived by his son Jeffrey of Bend, Ore., and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held from noon to 2 p.m. today at Borkoski Funeral Home in Tiltonsville, Ohio, with full military honors conducted by the Belmont County Council of the V.F.W. at 1:45 p.m.
Adrian McCoy: email@example.com or 412-263-1865.