by James Hudson
She’s a living local icon who seems to get better with every year—36 to this day, to be exact. It’s Lupita Murillo, a KVOA nightly news mainstay since 1978, when she moved here from KRGV-TV in Weslaco, TX. She was South Texas’ first Hispanic female in broadcasting at the time, and continues to produce award-winning investigative reporting on border issues, frequently appearing on national NBC broadcasts.
Murillo, whose thick-accented segment sign-offs may be as well-known and loved in this town as the old Gordo’s or Szechuan Omei commercials, has come a long way from her beginnings as a buttoned-down, reserved cub reporter. Earlier this month she was featured prominently on “Mystery on Sunrise Drive,” Dateline’s two-hour special on the 1996 Gary Triano murder case, in which Triano’s ex-wife was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to life behind bars.
Next month, however, Murillo will be behind a different kind of bar (sorry, couldn’t resist), as she serves up cocktails at The Coronet to benefit the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. Murillo and SAAF Executive Director Wendell Hicks will be your “Startenders” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15, at Fourth Avenue’s coolest new patio destination. “Coolest,” not only for the Coronet’s Old World European-inspired ambiance, but for the oscillating misting fans that actually work.
100% of your drink tips will go straight to SAAF, and if you order one of Coronet’s inspired dinner entrees, 20% of your pre-tax purchase (excluding alcohol) will also be donated. The Coronet is located at 402 E. 9th St., in the Coronado Hotel at the corner of 4th Ave and 9th St., just prior to the 4th Avenue Underpass. More information at SAAF.