Frank Field, Who Brought Expertise to TV Weathercasting, Dies at 100

The first meteorologist to forecast the weather on New York television, he later became known for, among other things, publicizing the Heimlich maneuver.

Frank Field, Who Brought Expertise to TV Weathercasting, Dies at 100

Frank Field, a veteran meteorologist who was a pioneer in the field of television weather forecasting in New York and had a long and successful career as a network presenter on science and medicine died in Florida on Saturday. He was 100.

WNBC-TV, in New York where Dr. Field started his broadcasting career in 1958, announced the news of his death.

Dr. Field was not the first TV weather forecaster in New York. He was, however, different in one important way from his predecessors.

Tex Antoine, Carol Reed and others were his most prominent predecessors. Mr. Antoine drew Uncle Wethbee with a mustache on his maps of the weather for NBC in New York and later ABC. He changed the character's expression and clothing according to the weather forecast. Ms. Reed ended her nightly WCBS TV reports with a cheerful 'Have a Happy'. Both had long careers on television. Neither had any expertise in the field of weather science.

In a 1966 interview with The New Yorker, Dr. Field said that weather forecasting was in the same class as reporting real estate transactions. The networks thought it needed to be glamorized with pretty girls and other gimmicks.

Field, who was described as "rather professorial" in the magazine's profile, more than compensated for his lackluster appearance.

He was a military weather forecaster, and the American Meteorological Society recognized him as a meteorologist, even though he didn't have a degree in meteorology. The American Meteorological Society awarded him the Seal of Approval for his work as a weather forecaster in the military. This credential earned him recognition as a meteorologist.

He used his technical expertise to interpret the data from the weather satellites that were launched during the space age and to explain in detail the weather systems illustrated on television.

He has also become a science journalist who covers more than the weather.

Dr. Field has narrated live broadcasts of heart surgery and organ donation. Dr. Field was a proponent of fire safety programs. He described the best ways to get out of a burning building in his book, "Dr. Frank Field's Get Out Alive (1992) as well as a DVD educational for parents and children, "Fire Is... (2006). He has also presented the shows 'Medical Update and 'Health Field'

He is perhaps best known for his publicizing the Heimlich maneuver. This lifesaving procedure was developed by Dr. Henry J. Heimlich during the 1970s. It uses a bear hug with abdominal thrusts in order to remove food stuck in the throat. Dr. Field invited Dr. Heimlich into his studio to give a demonstration.

Dr. Field was awarded a citation for "reporting advances in applied sciences" at the New York Emmy Awards of 1975. He studied weather and health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

Franklyn was born in Queens on March 30th, 1923. His parents were Ukrainian immigrants. His father worked as a factory worker.

In World War II, he was a student at Brooklyn College studying geology and playing football as center for the team. The quarterback of the team was Allie Sherman who later became the head coach of New York Giants.

He was trained as a specialist in meteorology by the military. After that, he flew above German-occupied France and analyzed weather patterns to determine how they would impact American bombing flights. Later, he lectured about meteorology in stateside airbases.

After the war, he did not return back to Brooklyn College but continued his meteorological work. He worked for the United States Weather Bureau and ran companies that provided weather information to newspapers and private customers.

When his wife Joan was pregnant with their first child, he looked for a career that would give him greater financial stability. He earned a doctorate in optometric engineering from Massachusetts College of Optometry, and briefly worked as an optometrist at the beginning of the 1950s.

If anyone yelled "Is there doctor in the home?" He told The New Yorker that if anyone yelled "Is there a doctor in the house?" he would respond nervously by prescribing a new pair of glasses.

Dr. Field also analyzed space missions for network broadcasts and explained the weather conditions astronauts would likely face once they touched down on the ocean.

Dr. Field moved from NBC to CBS in 1984, where he spent 11 years. Later, he worked at two New York local TV stations: WNYW and WWOR. He retired in 2004.

Dr. Field also served as the head of a family that produced TV weathercasts. Storm, his son (born Elliott David Field), started delivering weather forecasts on WABC in New York back in 1976. He went on to enjoy a successful career at WABC as well as WCBS and WWOR (where father-son briefly worked together). Allison Field, Dr. Field's actress daughter, was a weather forecaster at WCBS.

Pamela Field, his other daughter, and seven grandchildren, plus six great-grandchildren, survive him. Joan Kaplan Field died in this year. Dr. Field was born in Boca Raton.

Dr. Field was a familiar face on late-night TV despite (or maybe because of) his serious demeanor.

After Johnny Carson made fun of him on NBC's The Tonight Show', Dr. Field became a guest on the show. Carson called him jokingly NBC's crack meteorologist.

Carson's 'Tonight Show" colleagues and Carson poured buckets full of water over him one night in New York during a rainy period.

Dr. Field said that he enjoyed his appearances on the 'Tonight Show,' because it gave him national exposure beyond his audiences for his weather and medical reports.

He told The Daily News of New York, in 2005: 'He gave me a rope of safety' It was a done deal -- you could not fire Frank Field.

Dr. Field's popularization and use of the Heimlich maneuver in December 1985 saved his life.

A piece of roast meat became lodged inside Dr. Field's trachea while he was eating in a Manhattan restaurant. He told The New York Times that he felt no pain. I tried to swallow but couldn't. I tried to cough. I was calm until I realized that I could not breathe. He also was unable to communicate his distress to Mr. Wolf.

Dr. Field explained, "I pointed at my throat, stood up and gave him access." He tried it for the first time and it did not work. I thought, "My God!" It doesn't seem to work. If I were to fall unconscious, it wouldn't be reported at 11 o'clock.

When Mr. Wolf attempted to expel the meat again, he did so.

Dr. Field replied that Warner had never demonstrated it before, but he had watched me do it on TV.