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Published on May 16, 2024
Detroit Television Icon Marilyn Turner Dies at 93, Leaves Legacy of Warmth and UbiquitySource: Google Street View

Marilyn Turner, the trailblazing television personality who brought warmth and ubiquity to Detroit's screens for decades, has died at 93. As reported by The Detroit News, her family confirmed the news of her passing to WXYZ-TV.

Before seizing the hearts of Detroiters, the Canadian-born Turner cut her broadcasting teeth on WJBK-TV as a weathercaster in the 1950s. Known then as "Miss Fairweather," she not only predicted the clouds and the sun but also graced the news desk. According to a 1969 interview with The Detroit News, Turner was an everyday artisan, doing her own hair and make-up, dining on sack lunches, and masterfully coordinating what she noted were "about 5,000 scarves" into her television wardrobe.

Turner's move to WXYZ-TV in the '70s marked the beginning of her storied tenure alongside her husband, John Kelly. They led "Kelly & Company," a daytime talk show that began as a simple local feature and mushroomed into leading morning show territory in the nation, even more popular than "Donahue" at the height of its influence. As detailed by the Detroit Free Press, the couple made a guest appearance on "General Hospital," and "Kelly & Company" served as the customary stop for celebrated authors, entertainers, and even a former President.

John Kelly, died in 2016 at the age of 88 however, their legacy continued to resonate within the industry and community. Tributes poured in with WXYZ morning anchor Alicia Smith writing, "A legend of Broadcast House has passed away. Marilyn Turner was a beloved meteorologist and cohost of 'Kelly & Company' and 'Good Afternoon Detroit,'" illustrating her enduring impact on peers and viewers alike.

Turner's journey with Kelly included role expansion, spanning a second talk show "Good Afternoon, Detroit", which brought different flavors of conversation to the table. She also was featured in local advertisements adding to the multifaceted persona she had generated over years on air. WXYZ equally appreciated her for a one-off return to anchor their 7 p.m. newscast during their 60th-anniversary celebrations—evidence of Turner's long-lasting rapport with the station and her audience. Marilyn Turner's legacy as Detroit's daytime television royalty is survived by not just a community of viewers, but a benchmark of local broadcasting excellence that many aspire to but few can reach.