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Crim looks good in Burgundy

Ex-KYW newsman cited by comedian Farrell as source.

Mort Crim, the 1970s Philadelphia TV anchorman, is enjoying a little more time in the limelight, thanks to the return of his fictional counterpart, Ron Burgundy.

The comedian Will Ferrell has said the inspiration for his character in the Anchorman movies was Crim, a longtime presence on KYW-TV's Eyewitness News, who moved to northeast Florida in 1998 after retiring as a news anchor in Detroit.

Crim told the Florida Times-Union that the film is a satire and that he did not take offense at Ferrell's performance. He said he always took his work seriously but tried not to take himself too seriously.

"I think the first movie was a parody of anchor people," Crim said. "The second is a parody of the whole 24-hour news cycle. The key moment is when Burgundy says, 'Why do we have to give them what they need? Let's give them what they want.' "

Crim and his wife were invited to the Dec. 15 premiere of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues at the Beacon Theatre in New York, where he met Ferrell for the first time.

"I walked up to him, put out my hand, and said, 'Will, it's such an honor for you to meet me,' " Crim said. "He said he appreciated the good nature I had displayed in the interviews I'd done."

Crim's smooth baritone voice caught Ferrell's attention in a documentary on Jessica Savitch, Crim's coanchor at KYW. Crim has said he wasn't always nice to Savitch in the early days of their partnership, but came to admire her and delivered the eulogy at her memorial service in 1983 after she died in a drowning accident in New Hope.

Now 78, Crim has written seven books and is starting to write his eighth, about working in television news in the 1970s and 1980s.