Frank Field, a longtime meteorologist and health reporter for NBC affiliate WNBC-TV in New York, has died. He was 100 years old.
Field died Saturday in Florida, according to WNBC, where he spent 25 years of his career.
Field attended Brown University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he learned meteorology, and later served as an Air Force meteorological officer in the European Theater during World War II.
In addition, he has a degree in geology from Brooklyn College, a bachelor’s degree in optometry from Columbia University and a doctorate from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Field began his career as a meteorologist at WNBC in 1958. There, he gained national attention, according to WNBC, “Johnny Carson decided it would be interesting to use ‘NBC meteorologist’ and became a regular guest on The Tonight Show. Field matched the wit of the famous comedian, and somehow managed to maintain his dignity and air of authority.”
Field also enjoyed taking back punches at Carson during his 11 p.m. news broadcast, including smearing a cropped photo of the host with a prop pointer during a weather report.
WNBC noted that “it may have sorely bled NBC management, but viewers loved it.” (See some of the files The Tonight Show Appearances at the end of this story.)
At WNBC, Field also used his medical background, adding health and science reporting to his duties. In 1983, he captured attention by covering a complete kidney transplant live—”from the first incision to the final suture”—during a news broadcast.
Additionally, Field is credited with publicizing the Heimlich maneuver before it was widely adopted by the medical community.
according to New York times, Field was eating with his friend, CBS sportscaster Warner Wolfe, when a piece of meat got stuck in his throat. Wolf saves Field by using the Heimlich Maneuver after he witnesses Field explaining it on TV.
After leaving WNBC, Field joined rival New York station WCBS and ended his television career on WWOR in 2004.
Al Roker, a longtime meteorologist at NBC’s todayAnd to publish tribute to Field on Instagram, crediting him with being an influence on his career.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Field family who lost their legendary father, Dr. Frank Field,” wrote Rucker. “He was at WNBC when I started doing weekend weather, and he taught me the ropes and the earth layer. He’s gone at 100, and I hope he and Willard share a weather map, a laugh and some bourbon,” referring to Willard Scott, a longtime meteorologist at NBC, who died in 2021.
He has spent his post-television career campaigning for fire safety.
Field’s wife, Joanne Kaplan Field, passed away this year. The couple, who have been married for 75 years, have three children: son Storm and daughters Alison and Pamela. Both Storm and Allison followed in their father’s footsteps, becoming meteorologists themselves. The survivors also include seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”