Call-in TV show host lasting personality

Staff writerFebruary 17, 2014 

Friends and family will hold funeral services Monday for local TV personality Bob Corcoran, a 1960s talk show host who lived in Puyallup and died Wednesday at the age of 83.

He died of natural causes after having been hospitalized for several days, his family said.

Corcoran’s call-in show was broadcast on KTVW (now KCPQ), and briefly moved from Channel 13 to Channel 11 in the 1970s.

“The Bob Corcoran Show” featured guests such as jazz legend Duke Ellington, the original actors to play Batman and Robin, professional baseball player and New York Yankees manager Billy Martin, and prominent area politicians.

“It was called a controversial television program,” his wife Lee Corcoran said. “Some people thought he was a little wild about it. He was excellent at getting people to think.”

She said he talked on the show about the state prison system and issues on Tacoma’s Hilltop, among other local topics.

“At the time, he was putting on more live television than anybody else,” his wife said. “It was not taped. Those were the days when you did everything live.”

Son Chris Corcoran, 58, followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming the main news anchor at the NBC affiliate in Medford, Ore., for 20 years.

“He did things that no one could even think about doing today,” he said of his father. “He bought 21/2 hours of TV time a night, went out and sold the advertising time himself, did the ads himself, and he was sold out six months in advance.”

He said his father obtained ratings points against “The Johnny Carson Show,” the king of late night television at the time, that no one else could match.

“I think that was testimony to the impact that he had on this region,” his son said.

News Tribune reporter C.R. Roberts was Corcoran’s press secretary when he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1972.

“People who wanted to make donations, if they didn’t have money, I remember people would bring us vegetables from their gardens,” Roberts said. “He touched people on a very human level. … He was one of the last local television personalities.”

After his television years, Corcoran worked as promotion manager for the B&I Shopping Center. He was instrumental, his wife said, in arranging iconic local gorilla Ivan’s appearance on the television show “Daktari.”

Ivan lived much of his life at B&I, which was a circus-themed mall on South Tacoma Way.

Corcoran also helped raise funds for the Archdiocese of Seattle.

He was “fiercely proud” of his country, his wife said, and served as a Navy corpsman in Korea. He was awarded a Purple Heart for his service there, she said.

Corcoran is predeceased by daughter Susan Kay, and is survived by his wife, sons Chris, Robert F., Michael, and Robert Arthur.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at All Saints Catholic Church, 503 3rd St. SW, Puyallup.

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