Sonny Eliot, the longtime Detroit weatherman who charmed the city with his wit, died Friday after an illness. He was 91.
Eliot, who was born Marvin Schlossberg, began his six-decade career on radio in the 1940s before transitioning to television in the 1950s. He died Friday morning at his home in Farmington Hills, Mich., according to the Detroit Free Press.
Former colleagues of Eliot remembered the Detroit weatherman for his sense of humor, including Jeff Thompson, an executive at WWJ-TV, where Eliot last worked as a weatherman.
“I came to the station about 15 years ago and when I first met Sonny, I am a very large and tall and bald man, and so Sonny said ‘Hey Curly, how’s it going?’ And ever since then we struck up a friendship and what I was always amazed with Sonny is that if you were seven, 17 or 70, he treated everybody equally and always had time for us, and that was great,” Thompson told CBS Detroit.
Jim Brandstatter, a friend of Eliot’s who is a commentator for the Detroit Lions, lamented the death of the legendary forecaster.
“The landscape of Detroit radio and television was built around Sonny Eliot,” Brandstatter told the Free Press.
Eliot was known for filling his broadcasts with jokes.
“If you’ve found the love of a woman, cherish her, appreciate her, enjoy her — and whatever you do, don’t tell your wife about it,” the weatherman was known to say, according to the paper.
The Free Press noted that despite the joke, Eliot was devoted to his wife, Annette.
Stephanie Stoddart, a digital producer at WWJ, remembered that side of Eliot.
“I started working at WWJ about a year before Sonny retired and my desk was just on the other side of the cubicle from his. Every day I listened as he called his wife before he went on the air to make sure his weather forecast was alright. Then he’d ask what she was making for dinner and tell her how much he loved her,” Stoddart told CBS Detroit. “Honestly, it was the most endearing thing to listen to how vulgar he could be with his co-workers, but how sweet and delicate and loving he was with his wife.”
WWJ anchor Jayne Bower called Eliot’s broadcasts “a treasure box that we would open every afternoon” and recalled his quick wit.
“You never knew exactly what he might say or how he might say it and he came up with the phrase calling me “Lady Jayne” and every day he’d come up with a different adjective that he would make up right off the top of his head, you know, Lady Jayne the something-something-something,” she recalled.
Funeral arrangements for Eliot were scheduled for Sunday. No further details were known early Friday, according to CBS Detroit.