Jamie Apody Has a Unique Jewish History That Shaped Her Life

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Jamie Apody. Photo by Jon Marks

Jon Marks

Jamie Apody knows she wouldn’t be here today if any of her four grandparents hadn’t survived their time in Auschwitz — including her grandmothers, who actually knew each other there.

Had James and Flora Apodi, along with Alex and Clara Fodor, not eventually settled in Los Angeles after migrating from Hungary and Czechoslovakia, respectively, you wouldn’t have watched her delivering sports news for the past 18 years on 6abc “Action News.”
But their story, in a way, has become her story — one of perseverance, beating the odds and maintaining her own identity.


“It shaped me in every single way possible,” said Apody, who was named after James Apodi, who died shortly before her birth, but got to know her other grandparents well. “First of all, I clearly come from a long line of survivors. How many millions died and my four grandparents didn’t? Minus that by one, and I’m not here.

Jamie Apody and her grandmother, Flora Apodi at the former’s graduation from UCLA. Courtesy of Jamie Apody

“From what I learned from their stories, it definitely took brains, intelligence and street smarts to get out of there. I feel like I carry a lot of those personality traits with me. It was always hammered into me how important it was for family to experience big moments. My grandpa Alex, who spoke 7-8 languages and became a translator for the Nazis to stay alive, used to cry when I got an A on a spelling test. It never made sense to me then. It does now. I think he was so emotional because he was there to see it.”

While Alex Fodor never got to see his granddaughter on TV, he did live to see her graduate from UCLA. Back then Apody, who led Ventura County in three-pointers one year and whose karate-themed bat mitzvah was marked by her “breaking a board wearing my taffeta pink fuchsia dress” wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life.

“L.A. didn’t have any female sportscasters, so I grew up watching Fred Roggin,” said Apody, 45, whose love of sports started early as a Dodger fan before she was old enough to play and excel in T-ball and basketball. “He was my mentor, and I ended up working for him. But I had always wanted to be a lawyer. During my bat mitzvah speech, I said I was going be an entertainment attorney.”

A family photo with Flora Apodi circa 2004. Courtesy of Jamie Apody

After starting as an unpaid intern and working her way up to become Roggin’s producer at KNBC, Apody continued to wrestle with that prospect. She even took the LSATs and was accepted at Loyola Law School before deciding on Yom Kippur to instead focus on sportscasting.

The only problem was that she never got on the air.

“I knew they were never going to put me on, so I made an audition tape,” said Apody, who noted that, ironically, her first response came from KYW-3. “So I went to El Paso, Texas, having never been on TV. They made me sports director. That was 20 years ago. I hired an agent 2½ years later and said, ‘I want you to send my tape to the largest stations possible on the West Coast.’”

Wedding of Flora and James Apodi. Courtesy of Jamie Apody

When the opportunity of a lifetime came instead from WPVI, Apody’s initial reaction wasn’t what you’d expect.

“I was so angry,” she admitted, knowing how far from home she’d be. “I knew this is a huge opportunity and I wouldn’t be able to pass it up. And I knew I’d get the job. My agent didn’t listen to me and the stars aligned, because I met my husband in Philadelphia, I have three children, and, 18 years later, I’m still here.

“It is bashert, as my grandmother said at my wedding.”

A former colleague who’s also Jewish remembered Apody vowing that her stay here would be short-lived.

“She said, ‘I’ll be going back to L.A. soon,’” said recently retired anchorman Jim Gardner, who’s now started podcasting. “I said, ‘I’ll bet you anything that doesn’t happen. You’re going to love this job, fall in love with Philadelphia and be there the rest of your life.’

Wedding of Flora and James Apodi. Courtesy of Jamie Apody

“So far, I’m right. Jamie is, first of all, a dear friend, incredibly kind, empathetic and extremely smart with a great sense of humor. In terms of work, she’s a great storyteller. She looks for every opportunity to tell stories about young people who have to overcome challenges in remarkable and inspiring ways.”

Just like her Holocaust-surviving grandparents did.

“The stories she heard of their survival made Jamie a stronger person,” said her father, Les, a retired dentist born shortly after his parents arrived from Hungary. “She was driven to get to the top. She’s really a hard worker who strived to be the best. And I always felt because she knew the struggles of our parents, she’s stayed very much involved with Judaism.”

Flora Apodi, who lives to 100, meets her grandson Tanner in 2012. Courtesy of Jamie Apody

That hasn’t changed despite her husband, Paul Coleman, being Catholic.
“I tried to find a nice Jewish guy, but I found a nice human,” said Apody, who regularly attended Congregation Or Ami in Lafayette Hill before the pandemic and sent her sons Tanner (now 11) and Chase (9) to its preschool. “Paul and I were married by a rabbi and a priest. We celebrate Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah. But I let them go to church with my in-laws on Christmas. We want to make sure the kids know both sides and know their heritage.”

The Fodor family. Courtesy of Jamie Apody

Yet like any Jewish mother, Apody worries when she hears the increasingly pervasive antisemitic rhetoric.

“It’s scary to raise kids,” said Apody, who’s uncertain what to do with her youngest, Brayden (6). “Scary to have them at Jewish preschool. But I have a platform with access to 250,000 on social media. I always post on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Last year, it went viral and was shared by 4-5 million people. So, if I can educate and inform, I’ll keep doing that.”

The Fodor family. Courtesy of Jamie Apody

Jon Marks is a freelance writer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. Very nice Jamie it was well written and I enjoy watching you on TV. Keep up the good work and also I am a alumni from PW

  2. Jamie, I enjoyed the article & love watching you on television. You have a beautiful family. The very best to you. As a former Philadelphian The Jewish Exponent was my favorite.

  3. Hi Jamie, Such a Fantastic Article. Thank You for Sharing Your Family’s Story. You are Such a Treasure to Have in the Philadelphia Region. You Do an Excellent Job. You are Always Helping Others. Isn’t that what it’s All about. You have a Wonderful Husband and Beautiful Children. Please Don’t Ever Leave the Philadelphia Region. You are THE BEST!!! Best of Luck, Health and Happiness Always, Michael 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

  4. It’s been so special meeting you on Action News. I truly enjoy listening to you and hearing about your three boys, BTW Biscuit. Is just so adorable.
    Hopefully we’ll see you soon back where you belong.
    Miss you and be well

  5. We miss you and are wondering if you will be back. We understand that the times are difficult and scary, particularly with small children. Take care of yourself and your family.

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