The Joyous Life And Untimely Death Of Channel 2's Jeff Murri
Think of the best boss you ever had. Imagine that person dying suddenly, unexpectedly, totally without warning, writes Jim McFarlin in Hour Detroit's October issue.
Would you be sad? Probably. But would you be emotionally shattered by the loss? Would you, like Huel Perkins, the urbane, ever-composed Fox 2 lead anchor, break into tears on the air while announcing the death?
(“Jeff and I would frequently have raging discussions about politics, news, and culture,” Perkins would say later. “Still, every debate, no matter how passionate, ended with a handshake and a smile. He was my boss, but more importantly, he was my friend, and one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever known.”)
So the station known for its “Problem Solvers,” the investigative unit that has logged more than 12,000 viewer concerns last year alone, is hit with a problem it can’t solve, a mystery it cannot explain.
“There is a certain irony in all this to me,” says Jeff Edwards, board chair of the Metro Detroit/Ann Arbor chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), who distinctly recalls being keynote speaker at a community forum on preventing suicide held several years ago in the studios of Fox 2 — orchestrated and emceed by Murri.