Cal Marlin passes away

Cal Marlin in venice
Cal Marlin in venice

Cal Marlin died on November 9th in the morning at the Cottage hospital in Santa Barbara after being ill for about 18 months. Up to the end he was in wonderful spirits and really enjoyed his 24 hour caregivers who he called his ‘ladies’.

The services will be at 10:00am on November 19th at the Santa Barbara cemetery with a reception following at the Café del Sol which is very close to the cemetery. Cal ate lunch at the Café del Sol everyday for years.

Donations in Cal’s name may be made to the Community Kitchen PO Box 24116, Santa Barbara,93121.The Community kitchen is an organization that feeds the poor and the homeless in Santa Barbara, CA

Cal’s friends remember him:

Dan Radovsky: Cal would have been 81 this coming New Years day. Cal was an old school news cameraman, a film guy, a no-nonsense, pugnacious,irascible, sometime belligerent, sometime charmer who could always bully or sweet talk his way into position to get the shot.

I had the honor — some would have said the misfortune — to have been Cal’s soundman for a few years. Yes, sometimes working with Cal was not so easy. But there really was no better place from which to watch a master cameraman work than to be at his side.

Cal did not suffer fools so I don’t know how he suffered me when, on our first day working together, I locked the crew car keys in the trunk.We travelled the world together during the mid ’80s, and in spite of his legendary curmudgeonliness, he did have a heart, even if he tried his hardest not to let it show. One October, we got back to the press plane after a day of following Reagan around. There waiting for me in my seat was a birthday cake, a birthday cake with candles, a birthday cake from Cal
Marlin who so many were afraid to even approach, a birthday cake from the last person in the world I would have ever thought would have done such a thing.

Mary Walsh: I visited with Cal in Santa Barbara occasionally over the years..(My brother’s in laws are/were his next door neighbors). He thoroughly enjoyed his life there. His condo was right on the beach and he would sit on a bench overlooking the Pacific plowing through paperbacks. He had lunch at the same restaurant every day – the owners became quite devoted to him, so that during a bad patch when he was ill and at home, they sent meals to him.. On one trip Cal walked me through the collection of photos and memorabilia on his walls. I wish I had taken notes – it was a stunning collection of up-close moments with the many presidents he covered, all the way back to LBJ as I recall (but I could be mistaken). It struck me that, intelligent as he was, Cal knew precisely where he was – and the importance of what he was covering – through all those years. He was a first rate photographer in historic times. He had a keen assessment of what he was seeing and what the nation was experiencing.

It was this fine judgment that shaped his life after CBS News. Traveling to Santa Barbara with President Reagan, he knew this is where he wanted to live too. As he told the story, Bill Plante was doing an interview with a local developer. When the interview was done (and correspondent gone) Cal asked the guy about buying a condo – he got in on the ground floor. He shaped his life for his personal comfort and made smart decisions to support that through to the end. He was a good neighbor to my extended family. Standoffish, yes, but when you friended him there was no bigger heart, or better story teller.