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Mary Richardson, award-winning ‘Chronicle’ co-anchor, dies at 76

Mary Richardson with Peter Mehegan, her "Chronicle" co-host, in the WCVB Channel 5 studio.Globe Staff Dominic Chavez

At times it seemed as if Mary Richardson and her colleagues on WCVB-TV’s long-running show “Chronicle” could spin the simplest of topics into golden entertainment.

“We did a half-hour on dirt roads! Don’t ask me how, but we did,” she told the Globe with a laugh in 1997, when the show celebrated its 15th anniversary on the air.

Richardson, who explored the minutiae of Boston and traveled the world in search of stories during more than 30 years at Channel 5, died Thursday night, WCVB announced. She was 76 and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease seven years ago.

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“As Chronicle celebrates its 40th anniversary, Mary is remembered as part of the program for most of those 40 years,” Paul LaCamera, a former president and general manager of WCVB, said in a statement.

“She brought a joy, a pride and a celebration of where we live here in New England,” he said. “Mary had it all, a fine reporter, writer, producer, smart, attractive, affable, and possessed that classic indomitable Irish spirit and wit.”

Ireland was among the places she visited as co-anchor of “Chronicle” — as were other countries, such as Cuba and Mexico.

“I stayed at a $5-a-night hotel in Mexico and ate burned beans,” she told the Globe in 2002. “In Ireland, I did the jig while drinking 100-proof alcohol in a hotel with no lights.”

Though perhaps it went without saying, she added that “this job is incredibly satisfying.”

Among Richardson’s many honors were being inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2011; receiving the inaugural Tim Russert Award from Boston Healthcare for the Homeless a year earlier; and being awarded many regional Emmys.

Born in California, she graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor’s degree, and with graduate degrees from University of California Davis and California State University, WCVB said.

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Richardson leaves her husband, Stan Leven; three children, Chris, Jessie, and Matt; and two grandchildren.

Information about a memorial service was not immediately available.

“Mary never let her Alzheimer’s define her or slow her down,” Leven, who had been a longtime senior producer at “Chronicle,” said in WCVB’s statement.

Kyle Grimes, WCVB’s president and general manager, said in the statement that the station and staff “will always be grateful to her for the countless contributions she made to the station, the industry, and the community.”

A complete obituary will follow.


Bryan Marquard can be reached at bryan.marquard@globe.com.