Mario Machado, 78, LA TV newsman, AYSO founder, dies

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Mario Machado on his 70th birthday, receiving a jacket from his birthplace, Shanghai. (Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

Mario Machado on his 70th birthday, receiving a jacket from his birthplace, Shanghai. (Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

WEST HILLS (CNS) – Mario Machado, who earned eight Emmy Awards as a newscaster and TV host in Los Angeles starting in the 1960s, died Friday, friends announced today. He was 78.

Machado, who played collegiate soccer, called soccer games on CBS and Spanish-language television, and helped found the AYSO soccer organization, was a strong voice for allowing girls to play in the childrens’ organization, which he helped found, a family friend said.

“Without Mario Machado’s strong voice, school girls today would not be playing AYSO soccer,” said Barbara Begyud.

Born in Shanghai of Chinese and Portuguese heritage, Machado was called the first Chinese-American newscaster in the L.A. market. He rose to fame as the consumer reporter on KNXT’s “The Big News,” the local CBS newscast that dominated the L.A. TV ratings in the 1970s and pioneered many TV news techniques that are now broadcast staples.

Machado joined KHJ-TV (now KCAL) in 1967, and was billed as the nation’s first Chinese-American newsman. He jumped to KNXT (now KCBS-TV) in 1969, and hosted the midday interview show, “Noontime.”

Machado also hosted an experimental KNXT program called “It Takes All Kinds,” and his producer, Joe Saltzman, said it was the first broadcast portrayal of homosexuals or lesbians as normal people. “Mario was very easy to work with and appreciative of good writing and production,” Saltzman said.

A star collegiate soccer player, Machado was the play-by-play announcer on the CBS Television Network’s North American Soccer League telecasts in the late ’60s and ’70s. He also hosted weekly “Star Soccer” telecasts on PBS from England.

In Spanish, he also hosted a weekly soccer roundup on the Spanish International Network (now Univision). He is a member of the AYSO Soccer Hall of Fame, and helped carry the Olympic flame through Los Angeles in 2004.

After leaving broadcast TV, Machado played newsmen in movies including “Brian’s Song,” “Oh, God!” “Airport ’79,” “Scarface” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.” His last big movie was 1997’s “An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn.”

In recent years, Machado has been gathering oral histories from people who left China after the Communist revolution, and was a co-founder of the “Old China Hands Archives” at Cal State Northridge.

Machado’s wife, the former Marie Christine D’Almada Remedios, died several years ago, Begyud said. But he is survived by their four children: Brian, Michelle, Dennis and Andrea.

No funeral arrangements have been announced.

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