Kent Dana, the voice and face of Valley news for 30 years, passes away at age 80.
Dana covered news from the Oklahoma City terror bombing site, the Los Angeles riots, and Barry Goldwater’s living room on Phoenix radio during his career. But he’ll be remembered for being a regular at the anchor desk during a time when local television news dominated the ratings.
Kent grew up in a small house on Central Avenue and Thomas Road, now the historic Willo District, as the third of seven children.
Phoenix was still forming its character in the 1940s and 1950s.
Kent was in the same boat.
He sold doughnuts door-to-door as a kid, worked as a paperboy for The Arizona Republic, and worked on homes in the Arcadia neighborhood and at Christown Mall during the summers.
Kent won the “Mr. Little Arizona Pageant” at the historic Orpheum Theatre when he was five years old.
He discovered his calling as an actor at the Phoenix Little Theatre in downtown Phoenix, which is now known as the Phoenix Theatre Company, when he was about ten years old.
Kent was nominated for “Best Child Actor” for his performance in “The Remarkable Mr. PennyPacker.”
Kent spent time after college operating gas stations, filling in as a radio announcer, and working as a weekend anchor for KOOL-TV. In 1979, he got his big break when he joined 12 News as a male evening anchor. From 1979 through 2004, he had an amazing run as the nightly news anchor. He returned to CBS 5 in 2005 for another five years before retiring.
Joe Dana, Kent’s son, has worked at 12 News for 20 years as an anchor and reporter, following in his father’s footsteps in broadcast journalism.
Kent also believed that local television news had an important role in fostering a sense of community.
Kent Dana cause of death
Kent Dana, the face of the evening news in the Valley for three decades, died Tuesday afternoon.
Dana suffered complications from a January hip surgery and passed away – surrounded by his family.