Former Broadcast and Communication Arts Lecturer Geraldine “Jerri” Lange passed away April 10. She was 96. One of the first Black journalists and television talk show hosts in the Bay Area, Lange taught at SF State from 1979 to 1981. She is survived by her two sons, James Cowan, a print media businessman, and Ted Lange, an actor best known for playing Isaac the bartender on the hit series “The Love Boat,” along with two grandchildren, Ted’s sons Ted IV and Turner.
Born in Berkeley, Lange was an award-winning journalist who hosted community-based television shows on several Bay Area stations. At KQED she became the first Black woman to host a national talk show, “Turnabout,” and also served on the station’s board. A former correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, she also created and published the magazine Amberstar and penned a memoir, “Jerri: A Black Woman’s Life in the Media.”
Actor Barry Shabaka Henley, an SF State alumnus and cast member of the CBS TV series “Bob Hearts Abishola,” was a student of Lange’s and credits her teaching with inspiring him to try for a career in the entertainment industry.
The Lange family is currently planning a memorial in her honor at a time to be determined in May. Cards and other communications can be sent to Jerri Lange c/o Carmen Stone, P.O. Box 852, San Lorenzo, CA 94580 or by email to 3LangeTed@gmail.com.