Nevada broadcasting pioneer Bob Bailey dies - 8 News NOW

Nevada broadcasting pioneer Bob Bailey dies

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William "bob" Bailey William "bob" Bailey
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LAS VEGAS -- The state's first African-American television personality has died. Doctor William "Bob" Bailey passed away on Saturday at the age of 87.

Bailey was a broadcasting pioneer who helped open the doors for blacks. He hosted a variety of television shows on channel eight and became a member of the 8 News NOW Hall of Fame in 1983.

Like many sons, John Bailey looked up to his father. He described his dad as having the "it factor." The older Bailey seemed to have a knack for saying the right thing at the right time and being on the right side of history. Looking back at his father's life, the younger Bailey says he feels pride, not grief.

"Just how proud I am of what he stood for, you know he's my father. I love his so much that you can see the smile on both of our faces," John Bailey said.

Bailey moved to Las Vegas in 1955 to co-produce the opening show at the Moulin Rouge. It was the first integrated hotel and casino in Las Vegas. He also made history by being the first African American host to star in his own television show on channel 8. His guests included Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr.  Before arriving in Las Vegas, Bailey was a singer with the internationally known Count Basie orchestra.

It was tough times in Las Vegas. The city was considered the Mississippi of the West and Bailey set out to tackle segregation. Governor Grant Sawyer appointed him as Nevada's first chairman of the Equal Rights Commission. Bailey went on to establish an organization to assist minority owned businesses. John Bailey says his father wasn't trying to make history.

"We're all part of one race, the human race, we should all be moving in one direction to fight injustice and to fight things that are harmful to everyone."

His father did what was right, time and time again, he says.

Bailey is survived by his wife, Anna, of 63 years and his son, John and daughter Kimberly.

His funeral will take place Saturday, May 31 at 2 p.m. at the Second Baptist Church at 500 West Madison  Avenue. The family asks, instead of flowers, that donations be made to the Dr. William H. Bailey Middle School. They say having a school named after him was one of the proudest moments of his life.






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