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Ethel Greenfield Booth


1914 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Ethel Greenfield Booth Obituary
March 21, 1914 - February 9, 2018 Broadcast and Cable TV pioneer & WWII Navy veteran - dies at 103. Ethel was born in New York City to Sadie and Joseph Greenfield, who had emigrated from Romania earlier in the century. Growing up in Manhattan and the Bronx with her younger sister, Gladys, Ethel graduated from George Washington High School, Barnard ('32) and Teachers College. Going on to teach History at legendary High School of Music and Art ("Fame"), Ethel also entered, and won, a singing competition on "The Major Bowes Amateur Hour" - the "American Idol" of its day. She was asked to go on tour with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, but her father said, "No." Because WWII had broken out, Ethel enlisted in the women's branch of the Navy, the WAVES, instead. Serving in Hollywood, FL, and San Francisco, she also wrote an ongoing column for the Waves' newsletter ("Creating a Ripple") as Ensign Ethel Greenfield. After the War, Ethel moved to Bakersfield to work in radio, later becoming Head of Women's Programs at fledgling TV station KTLA in Los Angeles, writing and producing numerous live-tv shows. On-the-job romance ensued, and she married KTLA Program Director Philip Booth. Because her husband was British-American and a titled baronet, upon her marriage, in the U.K., Ethel was known as "Lady Booth" and became an active member in her new transatlantic family for the next 70 years. Following her husband's death and a brief second marriage, ending in divorce, Ethel became an active board member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and a leading proponent of the nascent Cable TV industry, as well as establishing the Data Retrieval Center at Beverly Hills High School, hosting many cultural programs there, also serving as West Coast Correspondent for Cable Television Business (a trade magazine). An inveterate globe-trotter, Ethel visited most parts of the world - traveling well into her late nineties. In the mid-1970s she led a group of educators to China, as one of the first exchanges of "ordinary citizens" between these two countries. One of Ethel's favorite sayings, "I always used to be the youngest, but now I'm the oldest," had been true for many years, but her youthful enthusiasm, intelligence and optimistic cheerfulness never left her, as she enjoyed her final years in her beloved Brentwood home, always happily surprised at how tall the trees had grown outside her living room window. She died Friday evening, February 9th, 2018, survived by her two sons (Douglas & Derek) & daughters-in-law, cousin, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren (Colin, Rachel, Zahra, and Azura).
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Feb. 17 to Feb. 22, 2018
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