Rafu Wire and Staff Reports
WEST HILLS — Funeral services were pending on Monday for Mario Machado, the first Chinese American newscaster in the Los Angeles market and an eight-time Emmy winner.
Machado died Saturday at the age of 78, friends announced.
Born in Shanghai of Chinese and Portuguese heritage, Machado joined KHJ-TV Channel 9 (now KCAL) in 1967 and moved in 1969 to KNXT-TV (now KCBS) Channel 2, where his duties included hosting 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 and lesbians as normal people.
“Mario was very easy to work with and appreciative of good writing and production,” Saltzman said.
A star collegiate soccer player, Machado was the play-by-play announcer on the CBS’ North American Soccer League telecasts in the late 1960s and 1970s.
He also hosted weekly “Star Soccer” telecasts on the Public Broadcasting Service from England.
In Spanish, he also hosted a weekly soccer roundup on the Spanish International Network (now Univision).
Machado helped found the American Youth Soccer Organization and is a member of its Hall of Fame. He was a strong supporter of allowing girls to play in the league, family friend Barbara Begyud said.
Machado played newsmen in such films as “Oh, God!” “Airport ’79,” “Scarface,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and “RoboCop”; the made-for-TV movies “Brian’s Song,” “Heart of a Champion: The Ray Mancini Story,” and “Switched at Birth”; and such TV series as “Ironside,” “The Rockford Files,” “The Golden Girls,” “Falcon Crest,” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
He was affiliated with such events and organizations as Nisei Week, Lotus Festival, Asian American Journalists Association, and Association of Asian Pacific American Artists.
Actor Rodney Kageyama shared this remembrance of Machado: “He was the first Asian American celebrity I remembered in broadcasting, a pioneer in the field, as was Sumi Haru. He was very personable interviewing people, looking you straight in the eye as if you were the most important person at the moment. And with a very charismatic smile.
“I remember emceeing the Lotus Festival on many occasions. Even as well-known as he was, he was always giving and maintained a friendly professionalism, especially when introducing me a fellow co-emcee. Working with him was a training ground for me. He would say things like ‘We’ve got to stick together, especially as Asian American entertainers.We have to prove ourselves extra hard!’
“I worked with him several more times and got to know the man behind the golden voice.”
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.