KTTV 70: The late great Mayor Tom Bradley

If you ask some people in LA about Tom Bradley, some, particularly the younger generation, may just think of the name of International Terminal at LAX, named in his honor.

If you know LA though, you know that he was our Mayor for 20 years, during some of the most significant and also controversial times in recent history, and that his is a story worth telling over and over again.

I remember him well covering him as a reporter, as a tall, dignified, strong figure who didn't necessarily love talking to the press and did some of his most important work behind closed doors.

He was a self-made man, from very modest means, a UCLA grad, a cop, a lawyer, councilman, and then-mayor.

He helped bring the Olympics to LA, he helped modernize downtown LA, he brought down a long time Police Chief, had some political controversies regarding his relationship with a bank.

He was, perhaps above all else, a coalition builder, bringing together various races and ethnic and socioeconomic groups not accustomed to working together, and was an inspiration to many people of color who may not have thought they had a place at the table.

I spent a fascinating morning at the family home with one of his daughters Lorraine, who reminisced about what it was like growing up in Tom Bradley's LA.

Their house is a sort of museum of sports and celebrity history, as Mayor Bradley's wife Ethel was, to put it mildly, a Dodgers fanatic.

It should all be in a real museum, to be honest. I'm told there's a little space at UCLA but more should be done.

I also spoke with the producer of a fascinating Tom Bradley documentary, Lyn Goldfarb, called 'Bridging the Divide, Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race.' She and her producing partner Alison Sotomayor felt that Bradley's story was one that needed to be widely told and understood.

I couldn't agree more. That's why we went to the KTTV archives and revisited the life of Mayor Tom Bradley as part of our great 70th anniversary series.

Read more about Mayor Tom Bradley here.