LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Joseph Dyer, a former CBS television executive and one of LA’s first African-American reporters, died Thursday from heart failure at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 76.

Dyer was a news producer and writer at the time of the Watts riots in 1965. Covering the tumult live on the streets helped launch Dyer’s on-air career.

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Within three years, Dyer went behind-the-scenes as a director of community affairs.

While he became less visible to the public on a daily basis, Dyer became a mentor to generations of black journalists in and around Los Angeles.

He worked for CBS 2 and KNXT for 30 years. During that time he also hosted “People’s Corner,” a weekend public affairs show and he delivered editorials for the station.

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Dyer was born and raised on a plantation in Louisana. After his father died when he was only 9-years-old, Dyer picked cotton to help support his family.

After retiring from TV in the mid-90s, Dyer wrote a memoir and published novels, including a historical fiction piece about Harriet Tubman called “Emily Dutton’s Secret Medallion.” A third book was just finished.

He is survived by his wife, Doris; three daughters, Monica, Karen and Kim; a son, Joe III; two sisters; and three grandchildren.

His daughter Monica told CBS 2 that the funeral is planned for Thursday at 10 a.m. at Wilshire United Methodist Church (4350 Wilshire Blvd., 90010)

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