China's first TV host dies at 87

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 29, 2020
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A photo of Shen Li visiting Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in 2013. [Photo/VCG]

China's first ever TV anchor Shen Li died at the age of 87 in Beijing on Tuesday.

Shen, born in Suzhou, Jiangsu province in 1933, became the country's pioneer TV icon when she appeared on screen in 1958 for Beijing Television (BTV) at the age of 25, reading the news and hosting many social, arts and sports programs, as well as the country's big galas.

In 1978, BTV was divided into a new more locally-oriented channel and China Central Television (CCTV), which became the national media outlet. Shen moved to CCTV, and started to work as host for "At Your Service" program in 1982, which became hugely popular. It was also the first time China's television industry had a fixed host for a particular show.

Shen retired in 1988, but was rehired by CCTV as a host for "Sunset Glow" that focused on older people, again becoming a top-rated show.

Shen was also the mentor and colleague of Zhao Zhongxiang, another famous TV anchor who became a household name among Chinese. Zhao was the second TV anchor in China's history and was handpicked by Shen Li to do the job in 1959. Zhao died in Beijing in January this year at the age of 78.

Shen was seen as a legend and vanguard for China's TV industry and will be widely mourned by the Chinese public. 

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