Actor, announcer and longtime KTLA personality Tom Hatten, known for hosting “Family Film Festival” and “Popeye and His Friends,” has died at age 92.
He died Saturday, according to an announcement from his friend, former KTLA producer Joe Quasarano. No cause of death was given.
Hatten joined KTLA in 1952 and hosted the children’s “Popeye” show from 1976 to 1988 and the classic film program from 1978 to 1992. He was also an entertainment reporter for KNX 1070 radio from 1978 to 2007.
The Jamestown, North Dakota native grew up in Caldwell, Idaho and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Hatten later told interviewers he used his G.I. Bill benefits to study acting at the Pasadena Playhouse.
He appeared in several films and television programs including the movies “Spies Like Us,” “The Secret of NIMH” and “Sweet Charity” and TV shows including “Gomer Pyle, USMC,” “Hogans Heroes,” “Hawaii 5-0,” “Get Smart” and “Wings.”
He was also known for his skills as a singer and cartoonist who often drew caricatures while hosting “Popeye,” his in-depth knowledge of Hollywood and Broadway and a love of jazz and cabaret.
“If you were an 80s kid and watched KTLA on the weekends, then you’ll know this man,” David Lim of Brea posted Sunday on Twitter. “RIP Tom Hatten.”
Southland resident Sangeeta Morar also had fond memories of watching Hatten while growing up.
“During childhood weekends, I fondly remember tuning to the `Family Film Festival” on KTLA,” Morar tweeted. “These memories are comforting, as it recalls a time that So Cal felt less like a sprawling metropolis and more like the familiar place I called home. Farewell, Tom Hatten.”
ESPN SportsCenter host Keith Olbermann remembered working with Hatten early in his career.
“Such sad news,” Olbermann tweeted. “Tom was a ubiquitous and welcoming presence at KTLA when I was there, and I also got to work with him at KNX. And his evil “Spies Like Us” character proved him a great actor: it was shockingly unlike his serene real personality. Thanks, Tom.”
Hatten is survived by his longtime partner, Pete Menifee, and several nieces and nephews.