LongtimeChicago anchorwoman Allison Payne has passed away. Payne was 57-years-old.
Payne attended University of Detroit and Bowling Green State University and then kicked off her career at ABC’s affiliate in Toledo, Ohio WNWO. She then went on to be a news anchor at NBC affiliate WNEM in Saginaw, Michigan. Payne then settled into working at Chicago’s WGN in 1990 and was stationed there for 21 years. She stayed there until 2011 after she was forced to leave due to health issues. Throughout her career she won nine Emmy awards.
After leaving WGN, she went on to work as a press secretary for political campaigns briefly and started her own production company. Robert Feder reported that Payne had suffered several mini strokes that led to her falling into a deep depression.
WGN noted that Payne spent her career covering “important stories across the globe, including tracing former President Barack Obama’s roots in Kenya and traveling to the Ivory Coast alongside the Rev. Jesse Jackson.”
“Allison Payne was a one-of-a-kind talent who quickly became one of Chicago’s Very Own,” Paul Rennie, vice president and general manager of WGN, said in a statement. “We are grateful for the many contributions she made to WGN-TV and to Chicago. Talented and much admired, she will be greatly missed.”
Roland Martin also paid tribute to Payne via Twitter.
“Allison was a sweet, kind woman; a great anchor, who had an adorable smile. She suffered a lot of health issues the last several years,” Roland S. Martin tweeted. “Gone so soon.”
Payne was also a role model to the young Black girls that watched her on television, which was pointed out by CW26 executive producer Afua S. Owusu.
“I am heartbroken over the death of Allison Payne. For 21 years she was theee face of @WGNNews for me, a little black girl living in Bolingbrook, IL,” she tweeted. “My parents moved my bedtime to 9:30p so that I could watch the nightly news with @AllisonPayneTV & Steve Sanders. A decade+ later, I started working at WGN. @allisonsnews took me under her wing. She was kind, gracious and an incredibly talented journalist. Allison Payne understood the importance of lifting others up so they too could have an opportunity to shine.”
We send our condolences to her family.