Nexstar Media reported Friday that Allison Payne, who provided newscasts on WGN-Channel 9 from 1990 to 2011, died on September 1 in her hometown of Detroit. She was 57 years old.
The cause of death for Payne, who battled addiction and other health problems during her final years in Chicago, has not been reported.
“Alison Payne was a unique talent, and she quickly became one of Chicago’s very own businesses,” said Paul Rainey, Vice President and General Manager of WGN. “We are grateful for the many contributions she has made to WGN-TV and Chicago. She is talented and so admired, she will be greatly missed.”
Born in Richmond, Virginia, Payne grew up in Detroit and graduated from the University of Detroit and Bowling Green State University. She started as a trainee and reporter at WNWO, the ABC chapter in Toledo, Ohio. In 1988 she was hired as a news anchor for WNEM, an NBC affiliate in Saginaw, Michigan.
Her big break came two years later when WGN News Director Paul Davis spotted her and moved to Chicago to replace Pat Harvey alongside Rick Rosenthal on the 9 p.m. Monday-Friday newscast. Payne later engaged to Steve Sanders and Mark Sobelsa.