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Tuning in to TV: Robin Roberts’ mother dies in Mississippi

- - Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lucimarian Roberts, the mother of "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts, has died, a day after the anchor announced she was taking a medical leave for a bone-marrow transplant.

The 88-year-old Mrs. Roberts died in Gulfport, Miss., on Thursday night, Jeffrey W. Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, said Friday.

The announcement of the death also was made on "GMA" on Friday morning.

"Robin arrived home with her sister, Sally-Ann, forging through flooded and blocked roads to be with her beloved mother in time to see her," GMA Senior Executive Tom Cibrowski said in an email to the entire news division Thursday evening.

The Mississippi area was dealing with flooding from the effects of Hurricane Isaac.

Over the years, Mrs. Roberts made numerous appearances on "GMA."

She was a Gulf Coast icon for more than four decades. She often was the first black woman to work with organizations and state and local agencies, and she became known for her ability to get things done.

She was the first black to serve as chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Education in the 1980s.

She also had a great passion for poetry and music.

Mrs. Roberts collaborated with her daughter on a book titled, "My Story, My Song — Mother-Daughter Reflections on Life and Faith."

"I sing because the music of the church speaks my soul language," she wrote. "I sing because these songs are tightly woven in to the texture of who I am."

"She even recorded a CD of hymns for her family as a gift last year," Mr. Cibrowski said.

The family was gathered in Pass Christian, Miss., and planned a small private service, he said.

The death came on the same day Ms. Roberts said goodbye to her co-workers and audience before starting her medical leave. Sally-Ann Roberts, a morning anchor at WWL-TV in New Orleans, is donating the marrow to her sister.

Ms. Roberts' departure had been set for Friday. But in a last-minute change of plans, she told her viewers she was leaving a day early to visit her ailing mother.

In a statement on her Facebook page, Ms. Roberts said she and Sally-Ann arrived in Gulfport in time to visit with their mother before she died.

"A CD of her favorite hymns is playing in her room. So thankful for my sister, Dorothy, and the nurses who have been caring for her. I will cherish these moments I have with mom. Then focus on what is ahead of me undergoing a bone-marrow transplant."

Besides her three daughters, Mrs. Roberts is survived by a son and eight grandchildren.

Her husband, Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, died in 2004 at the age of 81. He was a member of the all-black U.S. Army Air Corps, also called the Tuskegee Airmen. He served in Vietnam, where he was awarded one of his three Legion of Merit medals.

Mr. Cibrowski said there would be a special tribute to Mrs. Roberts on "GMA."

'Starsky & Hutch' actor fighting marijuana charge

The actor who played David Starsky in the 1970s police drama "Starsky & Hutch" is fighting a drug charge in Kentucky for what he says is medical marijuana from California.

The Daily News in Bowling Green, Ky., reports an attorney entered a not guilty plea on Thursday on behalf of 69-year-old Paul Michael Glaser of Venice, Calif.

Bowling Green police charged Mr. Glaser with possession of marijuana and a pipe on May 10, hours after he read an excerpt of his young adult novel, "Chrystallia and the Source of Light," to students at a middle school.

According to a police citation, Mr. Glaser said he had medical marijuana prescribed to him in California.

He was arrested after an anonymous call to police reported that a man was smoking marijuana in a hotel.

• Compiled from Web and wire reports.