When Raymond Bell took the stage at this year’s Emmy Awards Ceremony held July 31 at Leonard H. Goldenson Theater in North Hollywood, he had a picture of his mother in his pocket as he proudly accepted his award as Producer of Outstanding Sports Reporting.
Bell, all smiles, stated that he knew without her love, support and belief in him he wouldn’t be in “this moment.”
“She was strong, didn’t take no stuff, was honest and disciplined me,” he said.
Not only a good parent, his mother, Florence, was a local icon, loved by the neighborhood, her follow workers at the Oakland Army base and especially the kids on the block, he said.
Bell has exhibited this kind of determination and excellence throughout his life, beginning when he was a linebacker for the UCLA Bruins and as Theater Arts major in 1979.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with the greats in television like the late Hal Fishman and Larry McCormick,” he said. “(McCormick) was a person who was a pioneer in the field. Just sitting and listening to him let you know how serious he took the craft. He was a down-to-earth guy; so it wasn’t a big deal for him to help others.”
Bob Trachinger, Bell’s UCLA Theater Arts teacher, helped him establish his career in the television industry, flying him to New York to interview for a job on the Wide World of Sports. But Bell felt he wasn’t ready for New York and returned to Los Angeles to intern at KTLA.
In 1992, after his internship, he worked at Fox as an assistant producer graduating in a few short years to producing his own program “Inside Pitch,” producing over 36 shows that aired in various foreign countries. Will Smith and his son Jaden appeared on his show when Smith was promoting his first children’s book. Other celebrities who hold Bell in high regard are boxing magnate Don King, basketball great Julius Erving and actor Kevin Costner.
Bell’s brother, Donald Strickland, a retired cameraman from KRON Channel 4 in San Francisco, also has won an Emmy. Strickland introduced Bell to live television and showed him the ropes and how to maneuver among people in the industry.
When asked what winning the Emmy meant to him, Bell said, “It is a stamp of achievement I’ve always reached for. It is good when someone recognizes what you do.”
On hand to see him receive the award were his daughter, his lifelong friends from Carlton Street in Berkeley, Alphonsine and Sheriolyn Oats; Hillary Thompson; football great Lee Smith; Rick Williams; Beverly Johnson; and George Washington, his lifetime best friend.
“I am happy, honored and thankful for the award, but it doesn’t stop here,” said Bell, who is currently working on projects with Pat Harvey, an award-winning broadcast journalist, who is co-anchor of 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. broadcasts on CBS Channel 5.