Family, Friends to Say Goodbye to Local TV Legend Sally Starr

Starr will be laid to rest today in South Jersey.

By David Chang and Dan Stamm
|  Monday, Feb 4, 2013  |  Updated 3:01 PM EDT
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2013 In Memoriam: James Avery

Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia

Legendary Philly TV personality Sally Starr passed away on Sunday at the age of 90.

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Legendary Philadelphia TV personality Sally Starr will be laid to rest today in South Jersey.

Starr died last Monday. She was 90 years old.

The local icon's funeral is being held at Costantino Funeral Home in Berlin, N.J. The viewing begins at the funeral home at 231 W. White Horse Pike at 5 p.m.

The burial will be private.

NBC10 viewers have been posting their memories of Starr, including NBC10 Facebook follower Lois who remembered Starr as "an awesome lady."

"I remember going to visit her when I was younger. We would go to her house and she was always nice to us. RIP Sally. Hope all the horses are good for riding up there."

Born Alleen Mae Beller in Kansas City, Mo., on Jan, 25, 1923, Starr was a major figure in Philadelphia television, radio and stage for more than 50 years. Starr got her first taste of show business at the age of 12, when she and her sister Mildred debuted on the CBS radio program Blush Creek Follies, as the Little Missouri Maids.

She eventually settled in South Jersey and was a resident of Atco, N.J., at the time of her death.

Starr sang and performed country music throughout her young adult life. By the end of the 1940s, she became the regional voice of the Pepsi-Cola Company and did all their commercial spots, leading to a full-time gig in radio.

During the 1940s Starr married Jesse Rogers and the two performed on radio programs such as Hayloft Hoe-Down, which was produced in the old Town Hall in Center City. Sally also formed the band, "The Saddle Buddies," which performed in various clubs in the area.

Having already mastered radio and the stage, Starr’s next stop was television. On Oct. 3, 1955, Starr became the hostess of Popeye Theater, on WFIL-TV (now WPVI) which eventually became Philadelphia’s highest-rated children’s program. During the show, Starr presented half-hour western TV shows, cartoons, Three Stooges comedies, live acts and special features. Sally also had a country music radio program on Philly’s WJMJ.

In 1965, Starr entered the world of film, playing the role of Belle Starr in The Outlaws Is Coming, which was the last feature film made by the Three Stooges at Columbia Pictures in Hollywood. She went on to act in several other movies and hosted several other radio shows.

In addition to her career in entertainment, Starr also contributed to several charities, which helped thousands of handicapped and disadvantaged children.

Credit: Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia

Starr became so popular in the area that her fans staged the largest mail protest in WPVI-TV’s history when she lost her program in 1971, according to the Broadcast Pioneers. After leaving Channel 6, Starr produced and hosted local TV shows on Channel 29 and 65. She was so loved by her fan base that they even helped her financially after her home in Florida was destroyed in a fire in 1987. Starr eventually moved back to the area and hosted a three-hour radio show in Vineland, N.J., for many years before retiring in 2006.

Starr received the ultimate honor in 1995 when she was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame.

Starr died Sunday morning, just two days after her 90th birthday

 


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