George Page, whose rich voice and infectious enthusiasm for the natural world made him one of public television’s most popular personalities as on-air host of the weekly series Nature, died of cancer on June 28, in Equinunk, Pa. He was 71. Page’s journalism and broadcasting career spanned more than 50 years, but he was best […]
George Page, whose rich voice and infectious enthusiasm for the natural world made him one of public television’s most popular personalities as on-air host of the weekly series Nature, died of cancer on June 28, in Equinunk, Pa. He was 71.
Page’s journalism and broadcasting career spanned more than 50 years, but he was best known as the creator and voice of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning wildlife and natural history series, produced for PBS by WNET New York. The series debuted in 1982 and will mark its 25th season on the air this fall.
Page introduced and narrated each episode of Nature, until an illness prompted his retirement from television in 1998. He then devoted his time to the completion of a book, Inside the Animal Mind, which explored the latest research and findings about animal intelligence and self-awareness. The book became the basis of a three-part miniseries of the same name, broadcast on Nature in January 2000.
During his 26 years at WNET, Page also served as director of science and natural history programming, and was responsible for such notable series as Travels, The Brain (also a Peabody winner), The Mind, and Medicine at the Crossroads.
He also played a role in cultural and entertainment programming at WNET. He was executive producer of The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn, and the Emmy Award-winning Fred Astaire: Change Partners and Dance, and supervised such popular programs as Jukebox Saturday Nite; American Pop: the Great Singers; The Fifties—Moments to Remember and the Emmy-nominated Fred Astaire: Puttin’ on His Top Hat.
Born in the rural community of Hartwell, Ga., Page’s powerful and distinctive voice led him into local radio when he was only 14. He recalled that his on-air duties while still a teenager included hosting the Obituary Column of the Air.
Page moved to local television as an on-camera newsman in Atlanta, reporting on the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. He then began a tenure with NBC News, where he served variously as a foreign correspondent, acting bureau chief and producer. Page covered the Vietnam War and other major stories of that period. Switching to public television, he worked for PBS in Washington, D.C., in a variety of executive positions before joining WNET, the nation’s largest public television station, in 1972.
Page is survived by his lifelong partner, Dr. Dennis De Stefano; his nephew Mike Page, and grandnephews, Bo and Davis, of Rome, Ga.