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Forum staff reports, Published November 30 2009

One of Fargo’s first TV personalities dies at 89

FARGO – Verna Newell, who co-hosted the afternoon talk show “Party Line” on WDAY TV for 22 years and became one of local television’s first personalities, has died at age 89.

Newell died Sunday at ManorCare Health Services in Fargo, according to a death notice.

Newell started her career in radio in her hometown of Jamestown and continued to work in radio in La Crosse, Wis., according to Forum archives.

She had been writing and making commercials for KFGO radio in Fargo for about three years when she was offered the co-host’s job at WDAY in 1957 after her quartet singing group, the Honey Bees, performed on “Party Line.”

Over the years, the show’s diverse list of guests included then-Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat, Dustin Hoffman, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Phyllis Diller, Gregory Peck and Erma Bombeck.