Frances Buss Buch Made TV News Women’s Work

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C.: The death of Frances Buss Buch this week at the age of 92 was marked with multiple articles lauding her role as one of the first women involved in producing television news. Buch was among those producing CBS news coverage of the Japanese attach on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the Ashville Citizen-Times said. She told the newspaper in an earlier interview that the CBS news staff at the time scrambled to find maps of the Pacific.

Buch worked on a variety or programs, and was involved in the network’s first color broadcasts. she started her career as a stage actress in New York in 1935, The Wall Street Journal said. She was about to return to her hometown of St. Louis in 1941 when she landed a receptionist job at the nascent network. Buch was a “receptionist” in the sense of doing whatever needed to be done in a given moment. She was soon regularly called upon to use her acting and artistic skills.

After World War II, CBS made her a director, the only woman with that title. She retired in 1954. (The full Citizen-Times obituary is here.)