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Remembering Leta Powell Drake

10/11′s Kalamity Kate passes away at 83 from leukemia
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 7:09 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - She was blunt. And she was real. Never shy, and always willing to try.

That’s how many of us will remember Leta Powell Drake or 10/11′s Kalamity Kate from “Cartoon Corral” and the 10/11 morning show.

We lost this colorful broadcaster on Wednesday. But her legend lives on.

Leta knew how to make a splash. She hailed from the land of 10,000 lakes, but this Minnesota girl fit Nebraska pioneer Kalamity Kate pretty well.

Leta found her place in Lincoln, from hosting the children’s show “Cartoon Corral” to hosting and producing the 10/11 morning show for 25 years.

Starting at 10/11 in 1967 and staying until 1995, Leta gave us quite the ride.

From the mid 70s to early 80s, Leta would interview hundreds of the days’ biggest stars and political figures on the press junket for 10/11.

She would ask the questions we wanted to know, but were probably too afraid to ask. But not Leta. She was a local actor herself.

And the world still remembers those interviews. After 40 years, they were recently uncovered, going viral and making Leta an internet sensation. Not bad for an actress, broadcaster and even a pilot.

Leta set her sights high and nothing was out of reach.

Leta was the program director at 10/11 for nearly three decades. She recently hosted a program for seniors on Lincoln’s City TV. Leta is in the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame. And last month, she was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Nebraska. Leta’s son Aaron visited the 10/11 studios Thursday. Here’s what he had to say:

“It’s really great to be back in these studios,” said Aaron Drake. “It’s been many years since I’ve been here. The thing I’d like people to know about Leta... they think of her as an entertainer, but in reality, she was truly an artist. She could take the people of Nebraska and showcase their talents. These are the people from all over the state. The people who were hidden in plain sight. The real hidden gems we have in Nebraska. She would put them on the show, and they would shine. And she really got the chance to show how special the people of Nebraska can be. That was her true skill as an artist. And I just want everybody to be really happy to have had Leta in their lives, in our lives. Because I know Leta was very happy to have all of us in her life.”

Aaron Drake confirmed to 10/11 that Leta died of leukemia. She was 83.

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