February 22, 1932 - April 5, 2012
Journalist, TV Producer, Host, Documentarian
Gil Noble, producer and host of the public affairs program “Like It Is,” has interviewed famous African Americans like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer and Paul Robeson. During his career, he worked to correct negative media representations of African Americans and has promoted ethics and objectivity in journalism.
Noble was born in Harlem to Jamaican immigrants Gilbert and Iris Noble. As a teenager, Noble was inspired by pianist Erroll Garner and decided to pursue a career in music. He formed the Gil Noble Trio and played in clubs around New York City while attending City College. After graduating, he worked for Union Carbide and modeled on the side. He met his wife Jean, also a model, during this time.
Noble attempted to break into broadcast by doing voiceovers and television commercials. He became a part-time announcer for WLIB, a Harlem radio station, in 1962. While at WLIB, he also reported, read newscasts, serviced the Associated Press teletype machine and tracked interview tapes. This experience gave him working knowledge of all aspects of a newsroom operation.
In 1967, Noble auditioned for a TV reporter position at WABC. On his second audition assignment, he was called to cover violence in Newark, New Jersey’s Central Ward. Blacks had been shut off by a National Guard barricade while white city officials and journalists stood at the perimeter. Noble was able to cross the barricade and get the story from the black community’s perspective. Because of his reports, he was hired. By 1968, he was anchoring weekend newscasts. At that time, WABC created a black-oriented program in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Actor Robert Hooks was the host and Noble was the interviewer. When Hooks accepted an acting job, Noble replaced him as host. In the beginning, “Like It Is” focused on mostly entertainers, however, when Noble became producer in 1975, he turned its focus to the more serious issues of the black experience.
Over the years, Noble saw the documentary as the central focus and most rewarding aspect of his career. “Like It Is” has produced the largest collection of programs and documentaries on the African-American experience in the last half of the 20th century. He says documentaries “remain a powerful weapon to change false values, correct historical error and cure the poison of prejudice in the minds of black and white Americans.” In 2002, he survived an attempt by WABC to cancel his contract and show. Supporters of the show held rallies in its defense and the show remains on the air.VIDEO CLIPS
• Gil Noble's Wikipedia Page
URL (Click to bookmark): http://www.visionaryproject.org/noblegil