Ike Seamans, who won acclaim and respect during a four-decade-long career covering the news overseas for NBC and at Miami’s WTVJ-Channel 6, died Wednesday after a long illness. He was 80.
Seamans, who retired from WTVJ in 2007 after nearly 40 years in the TV news business, lost a long battle with prostate cancer. Those who knew him took to social media to remember the legendary newsman.
“Ike was an exemplary journalist with a career that spanned more than four decades,” Javi Morgado, the executive producer of CNN’s New Day, said on Facebook. “He truly had a gift for storytelling, letting the character be the focal point, and a passion for holding elected officials accountable. Ike made us all better and always challenged us to be our best every day.”
Bob Mayer, a longtime anchor with WTVJ who worked with Seamans, described the newsman as “a reporter’s reporter.”
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“He was not the kind of reporter that came in and got an assignment every day,” Mayer said, adding that Seamans was the hardest-working journalist he knew. “He had a very unique relationship with the news desk. He was trusted to go after the kind of things he wanted to do.”
Seamans, who graduated from West Virginia University as a drama major, did a stint in the Army in the 1970s before becoming a TV news reporter in Miami. Seamans left the local station after about 10 years and joined NBC as a foreign correspondent for about 20 years, often covering war-ravaged areas. He then returned to the local market for another 10 years.
Mary Seamans, his wife of more than five decades, said Wednesday that her husband “loved being on air and loved being a journalist.”
“News was his life,” she said. “He was his own person. He didn’t follow what someone else wanted him to do.”
Seamans also occasionally wrote opinion columns in the Miami Herald.
In 2015, Seamans wrote an opinion piece criticizing journalist and political commentator George Stephanopoulos for making a $75,000 contribution to the Clinton Foundation.
Seamans questioned whether Stephanopoulos made the contribution “to curry favor with Hillary [Clinton] to get privileged access during her run for the Oval Office.”
“Am I biased? Absolutely,” he wrote at the time. “But not in the way you might think. After covering politics at all levels for 40 years, I’m apolitical. No affiliations. In fact, politics disgusts me. I just don’t like people being given forums as news anchors or reporters on national TV who are not real journalists and don’t have a problem with being cozy with politicians, let alone having worked for them.”
Mary said after retiring her husband “had a ball” pursuing a second career acting and modeling. One of his favorite projects: Modeling for Simply Healthcare.
“His picture was on the side of a bus and he loved it,” she said.
In a biography he posted on IMDb, the online movie and television database, Seamans said he usually played the role of an “executive, high-ranking military officer, government official, grandfather, etc.”
In 2017, months after he learned that his prostate cancer — which had been in remission for about 17 years — was back with a vengeance, Seamans told the Miami Herald he knew it would be a battle.
“I’m not out of the woods just yet,” he said.
In addition to his wife, Seamans is survived by his three adult children, Stacy, Ryan and Reid, and six grandchildren.
Services are pending.