Marshall Davidson

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Marshall Davidson
Born (1945-03-04)March 4, 1945
Leo, Indiana
Died July 19, 2002(2002-07-19) (aged 57)
Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States
Cause of death Heart attack
Occupation Television news anchor, narrator, actor, announcer
Years active 1968–2002
Employer ATE Media Corporation/WFAZ-FTV Fort Wayne
Influenced Melinda Long
Laura Bakula
Karly Ryder, Jr.
Spouse Janet Davidson (1970-1997)
Children 3 (1 living)
Parents Judith Davidson (mother)
Morris Davidson (father)
Relatives Clint Davidson

Marshall John Davidson (March 4, 1945 – July 19, 2002) was an American broadcast journalist, reporter, actor, voice over announcer and TV documentary producer.


Broadcast journalist[edit]

Davidson began his television career at WFAZ-FTV (now WMRI-FTV) in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1968, where he became the station's main news anchor man.[1] With much fanfare on Labor Day, 1968, 23-year-old Davidson made his debut on WFAZ as anchor of the 6:00 and 10:00 P.M. newscasts. Elaine Carson joined Davidson as co-anchor where they, weatherman Sam Shingleton, and sports director Bernie Pantazi would help the station's news broadcast maintain the position as Northeast Indiana's top television news program in the local Nielsen ratings.

In 1969, Elaine Carlson departed for KIAA in Denver and Nora Wilson joined Davidson as co-anchor for the next seven years. In 1977, Sandra Parrsons joined Davidson as co-anchor, with Shingleton and Pantazi continuing as their respective roles as weatherman and sports anchor. Davidson's co-anchor departed for KDNC in Denver in 1982 and WFAZ had been sold to locally based ATE Media Corporation. Prior to station being sold to ATE Media, Patrice Rafferty reassigned Sam Shingelton to anchor the noon newscast's weather forecast and was replaced by Michelle Abernathy, while Dan Pantazi retired from WFAZ in 1982 and his son, Mark, became the station's sports director. Parrsons was replaced by Patricia Edwards in 1983; as they would help station's news broadcast maintain the dominant position as Fort Wayne's top television news program, to where it had dominated during Davidson's tenure and even when WFAZ and WPMA (now WNDI) swapped network affiliations in 1984. Davidson and Edwards co-anchored WMRI-FTV’s 5, 6, and late newscasts which he co-presented with Edwards for 18 years, making them the longest tenured anchor team in Fort Wayne television.

During his 34 year tenure at WFAZ, Davidson reported directly to Corithian owner Ed Renick from 1968 to 1982 and Patrice Rafferty thereafter. He was, in fact, believed to be one of two news anchors in local American television news to report direct to a station owner rather than a station's general manager. The other is Davidson's former colleague Elaine Carson.

After the acquisition and affiliation switch from ABC to NBC, ATE Media began to structure WFAZ's newsroom differently in the more traditional and unique way of the 1980s with Rafferty making Davidson the de facto face of WFAZ's newsroom. During the last 20 years of Davidson's careeer at WFAZ, the station's ratings success was largely attributed to the longevity of most of its news staff, some of whom had been at WFAZ since the mid 1980's.

Personal life[edit]

Davidson was the younger brother of retired newscasters Clint Davidson, who also worked at WFTW in Fort Wayne from 1967–1982 and moved to Des Moines in 1982 until his retirement in 2010.

Marshall Davidson married Janet Hamilton in 1970. They remained married for 27 years until her death in 1997 of liver failure. They had three children: Traci (b. 1977), Amanda (b. 1981 d. 2014), and Frank (b. 1987 d. 2022). Coincidentally, Traci and Frank followed in the footsteps and continued the Marshall Davidson legacy as Traci anchoring WMRI's 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11 p.m. newscasts and Frank anchoring the midday, 4, 5, and 6 p.m. broadcasts. Frank Davidson left WMRI in 2015 and moved to WTOR, where he remained until his death in 2022.

Davidson became a grandfather on August 15, 1993 when his daughter Amanda and her then-boyfriend Frank (now Ava Zinn) had daughter Samantha (b. 1993 d. 2020) and a son Thomas (b. 1997 d. 2006) with Ava. Amanda also had a daughter Kylee (later Kalvin b. 2000 d. 2020) with Juan Donovan (Kylee has since been adopted by Ava Zinn as of 2016 following Juan's death in 2012.). Marshall's daughter Traci married Rachael Passalt in 2006 and the couple had their first child, Zoe Ella in 2015. Marshall's son, Frank, married Heather Willis in 2011 and had no children. Heather died in a car accident in Wabash in 2013.

In 2014, Davidson's daughter Amanda committed suicide after a long battle with drug, sex and porn addiction. Following his daughter's death, both of Davidson's remaining children and oldest grandchild Samantha Zinn appeared in public service announcements for WMRI's Neighborhood 9 Partnership.


Marshall Davidson's last broadcast was on July 18, 2002, hours before his death. During the station's 11:00 p.m. newscast he appeared somewhat fatigued but little would be known about his condition until the day after. Davidson died July 19, 2002 at home, following a heart attack. That afternoon, the station interrupted its regular news and broadcast schedule with a NewsCenter 9 Special Report interrupting Passions 10:46 a.m. EST announcing Davidson's death and dedicated much of the station's news broadcasts that day to Davidson. The reporters on NewsCenter 9 Nightside (the station's late newscast) did not break for commercials that evening.

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

Davidson has received numerous citations for his journalism. Amongst his accomplishments are:

  • Emmy - Best Newscast - WFAZ-FTV, Fort Wayne, IN, 1983–1984, 1986-1989, 1993-1995
  • Emmy - Tricia Reitler Disappearance - WFAZ-FTV, Fort Waynae, 1993–1994


  1. WMRI-FTV 60th Anniversary. WMRI-FTV (9abc). January 4, 2014.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
WMRI-FTV 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. anchor
with co-anchor Elaine Carson (1968 – 1969)
with co-anchor Nora Wilson (1969 – 1977)
with co-anchor Sandra Parsons (1977 – 1983)
with co-anchor Patricia Edwards (1983 – 2002)
Succeeded by
Patricia Edwards and Laura Bakula
Preceded by
WMRI-FTV 5 p.m. anchor
with co-anchor Patricia Edwards (1989– 1997)
with co-anchor Lauren Jefferson (1997 – 2002)
Succeeded by
Patricia Edwards and Lynne Jackson