Connecticut history

Face the State Flashback: Governor Grasso Announces she has Cancer


35 years ago this month Connecticut reporters were covering a story that gripped the entire state.  Popular, even beloved Governor Ella Grasso announced she had ovarian cancer.   In this Sunday’s Face the State flashback, we re-aired two reports from the WFSB archives of our coverage of the news of Grasso’s illness.

Early in April of 1980, Governor Grasso was hospitalized for surgery. Jim Vicevich, now the host of Sound Off Connecticut on WTIC AM 1080 was assigned to Hartford Hospital waiting for word of Grasso’s condition and interviewed the governor’s press secretary Larrye deBear trying to get details.  By the way, deBear was a reporter for Channel 3 before Grasso hired him to handle the media.

The second report you’ll see was filed by a somber looking Don Noel, the then moderator of Face the State, who was there with the Connecticut press corps as Governor Grasso and her gynecologist used the words “ovarian cancer, malignant, and life expectancy.”   You’ll also hear the governor in her own words talking about her political future.   Sadly, Grasso’s illness forced to her resign by year’s end, and she died within ten months of this news conference.

You can watch the entire flashback right here:

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