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Leah Siegel, 43, award-winning ESPN sports producer and D.C. native, dies

Tuesday, July 27, 2010; B06

Leah Siegel, 43, an award-winning sports television producer in Dallas for ESPN, died of breast cancer July 26 at a hospital in Dallas. She was the daughter of former Washington Post reporter Myra MacPherson and the late Washington-based sports columnist Morris Siegel.

At ESPN, Ms. Siegel covered the Dallas Cowboys and thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown and won three Emmy Awards as a member of the production teams for the network's "SportsCenter" and "NFL Sunday Countdown" programs.

She began her journalism career in 1989 at the Washington NBC affiliate WRC (Channel 4), where she covered local news. That same year, she moved to the NBC affiliate in Charlotte as a sports reporter. Ms. Siegel joined ESPN in Dallas in 1996.

Leah Siegel was born in Washington. As a teenager, she worked in the press box at Washington's Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium during Redskins games, passing out game statistics to reporters, including her godfather, Post sports columnist Shirley Povich.

She was a 1984 graduate of the private Maret School in the District and received a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Maryland in 1989.

Her marriage to Joe Drape, a New York Times sports reporter, ended in divorce. Besides her mother, of Washington, survivors include her husband of six years, Eric Loehr, and their three children, Teagan Loehr, Wyatt Loehr and Oliver Loehr, all of Dallas; and a brother, Michael Siegel of Washington.

Ms. Siegel's colleagues described her as a wisecracking journalist with some of the best sources within the Dallas Cowboys organization.

Nonetheless, Ms. Siegel's allegiance to the Burgundy and Gold always remained clear. She set her cellphone ring tone to "Hail to the Redskins" and made sure the volume was at its highest setting while conducting interviews in the Cowboys locker room.

-- T. Rees Shapiro

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