Dan Molina told stories for much of his life, all while writing his own both in front of a camera and behind one.
Longtime Houstonians may remember Molina as a journalist who worked for KPRC 2 and NBC News in various capacities over the years.
He died Tuesday in Houston after a battle with cancer. As a storyteller, Molina chronicled his illness openly on social media for friends, loved ones, and former colleagues, sharing both the successes and the setbacks.
Molina wrote in March 2022: “On this eve of my 75th birthday I thought it’d be a good time to sum up the current state of the medical events I started out calling ‘The Cancer Follies.’ A year ago I blithely thought that a few rounds of sitting in a comfy chair getting chemo, plus 20 minutes a week on a massage-type table to get radiation, was going to make me all bright and shiny.
“Many reality jolts followed, some laced with a level of pain I didn’t know a human could endure.
“This journey brought on a lot of changes in me that are good.”
Molina wrote at that time that treatment was working but the tumor remained attached to his bladder “like a little blob with out a job.” He added that the journey had changed him by giving him a reason and time to reflect.
“I have every intention of trying, fresh from hell -- to gather my own life and what I can now do with it. 75 years and the Spring Chicken is emerging again, much wiser,” wrote Molina.
Even in Molina’s final months, driven by his passion, he was making plans to complete professional projects, including one about World War II and D-Day.
History and politics and the stories that came from them were a big part of Molina’s life.
He attended high school in Burbank, California before graduating from the University of California Berkeley. According to information Molina posted online, he worked as a TV news correspondent for KPRC 2 and NBC News, serving in Houston and Austin as well as New York, Atlanta, London, and Los Angeles.
Molina covered a wide array of topics, including NASA, and was part of NBC’s coverage with anchor Tom Brokaw when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight.
He covered historic events like the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill for NBC and made history with a major investigation into the Ku Klux Klan in Texas while working for KPRC 2. The documentary titled “The KKK: The Fourth Crusade” focused on high-profile Klan leader Louis Beam and got attention nationally in the New York Times and on NBC News. Molina’s work appeared as evidence in two federal trials involving Beam and resulted in Beam’s conviction. Molina would later continue to cover issues related to the prosecution of Klan members for NBC News.
Molina was a writer and educator, later sharing his love for broadcast journalism as a lecturer and adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin and as a consultant in the industry. Most recently, he owned and operated Dan Molina Productions and enjoyed time with his faithful rescue dog Biscuit and his partner, longtime and now-retired KTRK reporter Deborah Wrigley.
The KPRC 2 team extends our heartfelt condolences to Wrigley and all of Molina’s loved ones.
NBC NEWS LEARN SEGMENT - Exploring Underground: Finding New Caves (Dan Molina reporting)