Bobbie Wygant Biography
Bobbie Wygant is an American journalist working as an NBC 5 Entertainment Reporter. She has spent 64 years of her career working with NBC 5.
Bobbie was born in Lafayette, Indiana. She attended Purdue University situated in West Lafayette. Here, she graduated with a degree in broadcasting and psychology.
Bobbie Wygant Age
Bobbie was born in Lafayette, Indiana and she is 93 years old as of 2019.
Bobbie Wygant Husband
Information will be updated soon.
Bobbie Wygant Career | Bobbie Wygant NBC 5 | Bobbie Wygant Awards
Bobbie started her career in NBC 5 just two weeks before the station was named WBAP-TV. She used to do live game shows, commercials and produced and hosted a live talk show for 16 years during her early years.
Bobbie became the first woman in the Southwest to host a general interest talk show and the first broadcaster in the Southwest to present theater and movie reviews on television.
Back in 2010, she received the Critic’s Critic Award from her peer group the National Broadcast Film Critics Association in Los Angeles. She also received an Emmy Award in Houston in 2004 making her the 17th American broadcaster to be elected into its prestigious Gold Circle for 50 years of broadcasting achievement.
Bobbie’s most challenging on-air experience was Nov. 22, 1963, when her 30-minute talk show was interrupted six or seven times with bulletins about the John F. Kennedy assassination. Following each announcement she was instructed to “pick up where you left off.” She did.
Wygant Remembers the JFK Assassination
At 92, NBC5 celebrity reporter Bobbie Wygant still reaches for the stars
They come up to her and talk to her as if she’s an old friend. Considering how she’s been coming into their homes for decades, in a way she is.
“Did you ever meet Debbie Reynolds?” her admirers ask as she signs book after book. Or, “What was Dustin Hoffman like?”
Bobbie Wygant has the answers, having interviewed countless stars as the longtime entertainment reporter for KXAS-TV (NBC5). Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jane Fonda — the list of those with whom Wygant shared her charm and winning smile goes on and on.
Tony Curtis? “Oh my gosh, he was a handful.”
Tom Hanks? “He was very likable.”
Alec Baldwin? “Very charming.”
Still going at age 92 — her last interview was with Bradley Cooper this fall for A Star Is Born — she just published Talking to the Stars: Bobbie Wygant’s 70 Years in Television, a book about her pioneering career.
The photo-heavy coffee table book is dedicated to Wygant’s late husband, Phil, who was the station’s promotions director. In recounting her long career, the book also serves as a history of television, since Wygant was hired at then-WBAP two weeks before it actually went on air.
“I like to say that they poured me in with the foundation,” she said.
There’s Wygant chatting with comedian/actor Bob Hope at the Astrodome, or being hoisted into the air by Bonanza actors Dan Blocker and Lorne Greene; Wygant interviewing a young Sylvester Stallone about his just-released movie Rocky; Wygant bursting into laughter as actor Dudley Moore makes an awkward wardrobe adjustment just before their interview for 1984’s Unfaithfully Yours.
As the book progresses through the decades, “to see her hairstyle and her outfits change, it’s a real cultural document,” said Christina Patoski, an NBC5 newswriter and editor in the late 1970s who served as photo editor for Wygant’s book.
orn Roberta Connolly, Wygant grew up in Lafayette, Ind. She fell into broadcasting while attending Purdue University, where she noticed that the school’s radio station, WBAA, had female announcers.
That’s where she would meet her future husband, who was a program supervisor at the station.
The couple married in 1947 and relocated to Texas, where Phil had gotten a job with WBAP radio. Bobbie was hired at the makeshift TV operation the next year. At the time, it was the only TV station west of the Mississippi and east of California, she said.
“At first we broadcast in black and white, and we were only on air for three or four hours a day,” she said.
Broadcast hours would eventually expand, but the station still signed off at night with an image of the American flag and the national anthem.
“That really floors a lot of young people today,” she said. “‘You signed off?'”
In 1960, WBAP launched a daily fashion and talk show called Dateline that the station’s film department manager, Lynn Trammell, hosted during her lunch hour. But when Trammell called in sick one day, Wygant was recruited last minute to sub.
“Afterward, the only complaints we got were from a viewer who called and said, `Can you please put Bobbie on a pillow or something? She looks like a puppet back there,’ ” she said.
Wygant would go on to host the show for 15 years. “For the longest time, I did the show sitting on a pair of phone books,” she said.
She was on air in November 1963 when the news broke that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. Though her program was interrupted multiple times, “we did the best job we could, under the circumstances. It didn’t sink in until later what we had been through.”
A few months later, she interviewed the Beatles on their first U.S. tour.
In the mid-1970s, just before the station was renamed KXAS, came a show called Inside Area Five, shifting to more of a newsmagazine format. Wygant told her bosses she had little interest in being an anchor, preferring to stay on the reporting side.
“Even at that time in my life,” she said, “I could see that women had a limited number of years they could be anchors. I was in it for the long haul.”
Instead, she proposed the idea of being an entertainment reporter, an idea she’d seen at TV stations in Los Angeles. The reply: The suits upstairs like your idea; can you start Monday?
“Bobbie was an institution even then,” said Lee Elsesser, NBC5’s news director from 1976-78. “But when you asked her to do anything, it didn’t matter where in the scope of journalism it fell. She was capable, and a team player.”
So began Wygant’s illustrious stretch as celebrity and arts reporter, with a newsroom desk identifiable by its heaping mounds of paper.
She interviewed a young Johnny Carson just after he’d been named as new host of The Tonight Show, when he was still nervous about the move. She’d interview him again after the show’s runaway success, finding him much more “Johnny.”
At one of her recent book signing appearances, Wygant was asked who her most difficult interview was.
“Gary Busey was the most irritating,” she said. “I don’t know what was with him.”
When she asked Busey a clarifying question, he chided her, saying she should have read the bio that had been provided. She nearly bolted out of her seat at the remark, she said, saying she had read the bio and the information wasn’t there.
“And because I raised my voice to him, he settled back down and behaved himself,” she said.
Her favorite interview? Naval Commander James Calvert, who directed the U.S.S. Skate’s historic voyage as the first nuclear submarine to surface at the North Pole. Fascinated by submarines since an early age, Wygant hooked Calvert, who was in town but reluctant to make time for an interview, by informing him that she had read every book by former naval submarine officer Edward “Ned” Beach.
“OK, what time do you want to pick me up?” he said.
Bruce Willis was probably Wygant’s most rascally adversary, playfully giving her a hard time in a 1998 interview from the get-go. The actor was had just finished Armageddon and was still married to Demi Moore, and the couple was all over the magazines with their daughters.
Wygant told Willis he seemed like a hands-on parent, and he said he tried to be. Then — as she recalled it — he said something out of the blue like, “You know, Bobbie, it’s not like the old days, when you used to come out to the canyon and we danced around naked all night long.”
She tried to quash the teasing, she said, but Willis kept embellishing until they were out of time. When she told him she had no usable footage, he agreed to stay longer and be more serious.
A few years later, she interviewed Willis again and decided to get out in front of him.
“We’re not going to have any of your shenanigans,” she said as soon as she sat down.
Willis was undaunted. “Did you bring the weed?” he said.
Some stars she interacted with so much that friendships formed. She interviewed Bob Hope so often — usually at a golf course — that he once told her, “Bobbie, you have enough info on me to do a 52-week series.”
Hope even invited her to a party at his home, where she found he had a full-size golf hole in back for practice, and while he was showing it off he suggested she come take a swing. Wygant protested, saying she’d never held a club, and besides, she was wearing a tight skirt and heels.
She eventually relented, and Hope showed her how to hold the club. She took a swing, she said, and the ball landed a foot from the pin.
Insisting Wygant was secretly a pro, Hope said, “OK, that’s it! Tomorrow, I want high heels on all my golf shoes.”
Wygant eventually went part-time in 2002, now freelancing when she sees fit. At her book appearances, she has said that while she was never denied opportunities as a woman in a male-dominated profession, the playing field was not quite so level on payday.
But on air, she continued to win over viewers, and subjects, with her easygoing and genuine personality.
“I practically grew up with her,” said Charlene Vezina, who attended Wygant’s recent appearance at the Oak Cliff Lions Club’s weekly luncheon. “She’s always been on our TV. When somebody comes into your home like that, you just feel like you know them.”
Annisa MacKay, a 17-year-old student who will attend SMU in the fall, said Wygant was a good example of how women in media should conduct themselves. “Such a beautiful example of female empowerment,” the teen said. “I wish I had been around to watch her.”
Wygant said she was able to connect with celebrities because “I didn’t fawn over them, like a teeny bopper.” That meant that while she never tolerated rudeness or avoided touchy issues, she tried to put herself in their shoes.
“They have to do interview after interview on a very tight schedule, then go on stage and perform,” she said. “I had to cut them a little slack.”
“Some celebrity interviewers like to needle their subjects, and that’s not my style,” she said. “I wasn’t out for a fight. I was out for a story.”
A founding member of the national Broadcast Film Critics Association, Wygant was awarded the group’s Critics’ Critics Award in 2000 and inducted into the Gold Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science in 2004.
Widowed for 30 years, she lives alone in Fort Worth, a devout Catholic with no surviving family other than a niece and nephew in Indiana. As Patoski, her former colleague put it: Her family is the NBC5 family.
“All of us are big fans of Bobbie,” anchor Kristi Nelson said, introducing Wygant’s appearance at the Fort Worth Central Public Library. “She’s been a mainstay.”
Wygant spoke and took questions for an hour, ignoring the chair that had been placed next to the microphone. Afterward, she walked gingerly offstage to autograph books for her admirers, asking their names, posing for pictures and thanking them for coming.
Later, she was asked: What is she proudest of in her career?
“That I’ve endured,” she finally said. “I just love the work. I love the people.”