Read the Angry Letter the Real-Life Ron Burgundy Sent PEOPLE in 1983

12/17/2013 at 02:30 PM EST

Mort Crim, Real-Life Ron Burgundy, Sent PEOPLE An Angry Letter in 1983
Newscaster Mort Crim, Will Ferrrell's inspiration for Ron Burgundy
Will Ferrell recently revealed that his inspiration for Anchorman's Ron Burgundy came from a real-life anchor named Mort Crim.

Crim worked at newsrooms around the country, and was – with anchorwoman Jessica Savitch in Philadelphia – part of one of the first male-female news desk pairings in the country.

Ferrell told The New York Times that he was inspired to create Ron Burgundy while watching a documentary about Savitch. Crim was speaking about his experience with Savitch, and as Ferrell recalls, "He literally said the line: 'You have to remember, back then I was a real male chauvinist pig. I was not nice to her.'"

Crim takes his fictional representation in great stride: "I don't think you ever really see yourself in a parody, but it was fun," he told Philadelphia magazine. "Like any good satire, [Ferrell] took a basic idea and took it all to the extreme to get comedic value from it."

Crim actually said recently that he identifies as a feminist, which brings us to our next point: While researching Crim, we came across a letter he'd written to PEOPLE in 1983, shortly after the magazine published a long feature on Savitch after her death.

"Your article about Jessica Savitch could have been a tribute to a gracious and talented lady," Crim's letter begins. "Instead, it was a hatchet job based on innuendo and the statements of disgruntled ex-associates."

"Jessica would have been the last person to claim she was a saint. But this hardworking journalist who cared deeply about her profession and her friends deserved far better than you gave her."

"When Jessica and I co-anchored the news in Philadelphia several years ago, a columnist took a couple of unfair shots at her. I reminded Jess then that the only way anyone can stab you in the back is if you're out front. Maybe that's why she was an easy target. "

The letter's signed, "Mort Crim, Detroit." Crim anchored at WDIV-TV, Detroit's NBC affiliate, from 1978 to 1997. His co-anchor? A woman named Carmen Harlan.

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