WEST HILLS (CBSLA.com) — Mario Machado, Los Angeles’ first Asian-American newscaster, has died.

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Machado died Saturday. He was 78.

During his long and storied career, Machado won eight Emmy Awards as a newscaster and TV host in Los Angeles starting in the 1960s.

Machado, who played collegiate soccer, called soccer games on CBS and Spanish-language television, and helped found the AYSO soccer organization. A family friend recalls that Machado was a strong advocate for allowing girls to play in the organization.

“Without Mario Machado’s strong voice, school girls today would not be playing AYSO soccer,” Barbara Begyud said.

Machado, who was born Mario Jose de Souza Machado in Shanghai, was of Chinese and Portuguese descent.

He was the nation’s first prominent Chinese-American newscaster and the first in the L.A. market. He first rose to prominence as the consumer reporter on KNXT’s “The Big News,” the local CBS newscast that is now CBS2.

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Machado joined KHJ-TV (now KCAL) in 1967. He jumped to KNXT (now KCBS-TV) in 1969, and hosted the midday interview show, “Noontime.”

Machado also hosted an experimental KNXT program called “It Takes All Kinds”, and his producer, Joe Saltzman, said it was the first broadcast portrayal of gays or lesbians as normal people.

“Mario was very easy to work with and appreciative of good writing and production,” Saltzman said.

In the late 60s and early 70s, Machado was the play-by-play announcer on CBS’ North American Soccer League games. He hosted weekly “Star Soccer” telecasts on PBS from England, as well as the medical show “Medix”.

After leaving broadcast TV, Machado played newsmen in a variety of movies, including: “Brian’s Song”, “Oh, God!”, “Rocky III”, “Airport ’79”, “Scarface”, and “St. Elmo’s Fire”. He played himself in “Blue Thunder” and “Without Warning”.

In recent years, Machado gathered oral histories from people who left China after the Communist revolution, and was a co-founder of the “Old China Hands Archives” at Cal State Northridge.

Machado’s wife, the former Marie Christine D’Almada Remedios, died several years ago, Begyud said. He is survived by their four children: Brian, Michelle, Dennis and Andrea.

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No funeral arrangements have been announced.