Numerous sources are reporting the death of Mario Machado, the Emmy-winning broadcaster who made history when he became the first Asian-American on-air news reporter in Los Angeles, and also enjoyed several decades of playing a news reporter in movies and TV shows. Machado died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 78.
After he broke ground by joining L.A.’s KHJ-TV (currently KCAL) in 1967, Machado’s career moved quickly, until, by 1970, he’d become a regular on the city’s popular CBS news broadcast, and such a familiar face that movies and TV shows looking to add a bit of real-world grounding would hire him to play a reporter. Machado’s list of screen credits is longer than some actors’, and—with the exception of the odd “technician” role on Mission: Impossible, and the time he played the wealthy Korean businessman who hires Emilio Estevez in St. Elmo’s Fire—is almost exclusively composed of “interviewer,” “talk show host,” and “newscaster” roles. Among these were TV shows like The Brady Bunch, Ironside, Police Story, Quincy M.E., Wonder Woman, The Golden Girls, and Beverly Hills 90210, and movies such as Brian’s Song, Oh God!, Airport ’79, Rocky III, and Scarface.
Perhaps most famous of Machado’s many fictional news jobs was his years of service as Casey Wong, co-anchor of RoboCop’s “Mediabreak,” a role he portrayed through all three movies in the series, always ready with a reassuring smile no matter how dystopian the news.