When Larry Edgeworth said he had your back, you knew you were covered.
It wasn’t just knowing that he’d deliver clean audio of some bird you didn’t realize was cawing 100 yards off. It was that in any situation, he was on guard to make sure you were OK. Mentally, physically, he was a protector. No one would mess with you while Larry was around. He was a bear of a man, but a teddy bear at the same time.
Until today, the coronavirus felt like an idea, incomprehensible, a far-off war. Then we learned that Larry had passed away after contracting it. A direct hit.
We can't come together in sorrow, but with every email, text and phone call, it’s clear that we lost one of the great ones. My Larry story is just one of hundreds from those who had worked with him. I hope it adds to the picture of an all-around great guy.
I first worked with Larry at "Inside Edition" when I knew nothing about anything but thought I knew it all. Some crew guys would haze the young producers and grumble about anything we requested. But not Larry. He was a teacher, a team player willing to help the captain even if that captain knew less than he did.
He could be stoic and commanding, complaining whenever you snapped his photo — but it was a front. His smile was larger than life, and his voice reverberated across the newsroom. You always knew when Larry was in the house to check in with a hello and a hug.
NBC News offered adventures. We spent three weeks in Namibia, crisscrossing the country on sandy roads that left our vehicle in shambles. We stuffed ourselves and our gear inside that car for hours, rolling across empty and overwhelming landscapes.
Larry was a teacher, a team player willing to help the captain even if that captain knew less than he did.
I could curl up in the backseat, but no space seemed big enough to accommodate Larry. He rode shotgun, his head nearly touching the ceiling as we bumped along. He never complained about it. We talked about everything in those hours: our families, his sons. I imagined the kind of dad he was, how his kids wouldn’t get away with anything. He used a satellite phone to check in back home. I liked listening to the way he spoke to his kids, taking mental notes on how to kindly lay down the law.
Unfortunately for Larry, he was paired with a producer and cameraman intent on documenting every one of Namibia’s endless money shots. For weeks, Larry heaved his gear across the desert in blazing temperatures with little sleep and no complaint.
At the end of the trip, we had planned to film a choir singing in Namibia’s dunes, some of the highest on the planet. Larry saw what was coming. Instead of waiting for us to debate one dune after the next, he disappeared. We soon heard a voice echoing down from a nearby peak.
“I found it. The perfect spot. This is it.” Larry had made the call. We all laughed.
Unfortunately for him, we pointed to a higher peak, but he just smiled and trudged on, doing whatever it took to get the job done.
The only time I ever saw Larry cower was when a 5-ton bull elephant bore down on our parked vehicle. In that situation, he chose to put on his seatbelt. When the threat was over, we laughed about that choice. The charging bull made a good story, but what I will treasure most from that day is the aftermath and the memory of the laughs we shared.