Friday, April 18, 2008

Will Spens died with five numbers in his cell phone

Talk about news traveling slowly. We got word this morning about Will Spens, the brawling New York City local TV news reporter we knew back in the Eighties. For some reason, we always remember Will as having a loosened tie. He was a witty and literate son of a bitch who apparently in the past decade had been estranged from his industry and battered by mental illness. He'd moved west to Santa Barbara "to pursue monastic and religious studies," where he was allegedly married briefly to a bisexual dominatrix, became homeless and died in a single car accident earlier this month.

Will Spens wasn't wearing a seatbelt. It took days for His state of mind can be gathered from the various websites he authored (here and here, for example). Sad.

Tony Russomanno, a journo from San Francisco, writes a nice tribute in the Santa Barbara Independent that begins with this recap:

"Will Spens spent 30 years reporting and anchoring on radio and television, earning two Emmys and a New York City Civilian Heroism Award. When he moved to Santa Barbara in the mid 1990s, Spens told his family he was pursuing religious and monastic studies. It is fair to say that he also struggled with psychological demons that rendered him paranoid. Nonetheless, he wrote about current events on several blogs (see willspenssummary.blogspot.com), supported journalists who were fired or resigned from the News-Press, and recently recorded radio spots on behalf of 3rd District Supervisorial candidate Dave Bearman.

"For the past 10 years, Spens lived at the Faulding Hotel. A memorial service was held there, and another at the Salvation Army, where he often ate meals and through whose auspices he visited nursing homes to talk with the residents. Friends praised his wit, his humility, and his 'genius at cutting through inauthenticities in social relations.'

"Spens died at the age of 57 in a one-car accident near the Ventura County line on April 1. His cell phone had only five phone numbers in it, all of them to major news networks."

Too much death. But another reason to raise a glass. And to think, after Chris Gaffney and Danny Federici (57 and 58), if Will had played accordion we could have said he Died in Threes.

...and a tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to veteran journo Glenn MacDonald for the tip...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you covered this. Odd guy (sad story) and apparently the proprieter of a few aborted blogs: