Monday, September 28, 2015

Cleveland’s first superstar reporter, Doris O'Donnell, who covered the Sam Shepard murder trial, the Kremlin, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Huff riots, died at age 94.

She reported for the Cleveland News, starting in 1944; the Plain Dealer, beginning in 1960; the Lake County News-Herald; Greensburg, Pennsylvania’s Tribune-Review and, finally, the Plain Dealer again. Her public television show won local Emmys. She was a spokeswoman for Cleveland's mayor in 1973.

She wrote about her career in an autobiography, "Front-Page Girl," a memoir published in 2006 by Kent State University Press.

She was convinced till her death that Shepard killed his wife in their Bay Village home.

She was inducted into the Press Club of Cleveland Hall of Fame in 1984.

She grew up in Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood. Her father was a fireman, her mother a Democratic ward leader and her uncle the county sheriff. Her husband, former Cleveland News City Editor Howard Beaufait, died in 1976.

Ferolia Funeral home in Sagamore Hills is handling arrangements for Mrs. O'Donnell's funeral Mass at St. Mary's in Hudson.

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