08 August 2005

Peter Jennings (1938-2005)

He was, perhaps, the last of his kind...


Veteran Newsreader Jennings Dies

US TV news presenter Peter Jennings, who fronted ABC's flagship World News Tonight programme, has died at the age of 67.

Jennings, who announced that he was suffering from lung cancer in April, died at his home in New York.

The Canadian-born journalist has been described as one of the most powerful and influential on US television.

Ted Koppel, his friend and fellow ABC anchor, described Mr Jennings as a "warm and loving" man.

Jennings , who became an anchor for ABC in 1965, was in Berlin for both the building and fall of the Berlin Wall - and hosted the World News Tonight programme since 1983.

ABC News president David Westin added: "Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways.

"None of us will be the same without him."

Veteran ABC newswoman Barbara Walters said: "No one could ad lib like Peter. Sometimes he drove me crazy because he knew so many details.

"He just died much too young."

Born in Canada, Jennings retained his Canadian status until 2003, when he became a US citizen.

He began his career as a news reporter at a radio station in Brockton, Ontario, and quickly landed an anchor job at Canadian Television.

In 1964 he was noticed by ABC's news president while he was covering the Democratic national convention, and was consequently offered a reporting job in New York.

He was made an anchor at the age of 26 but his inexperience showed through and he was taken off to become a foreign correspondent.

'Uphill struggle'

Jennings returned to the evening news in 1978 when ABC renamed its broadcast World News Tonight and employed a three-person anchor team: Frank Reynolds based in Washington, Max Robinson from Chicago and Jennings, from London.

Following Reynolds' death from cancer, Jennings became sole anchor in September 1983.

Jennings had not been on the air since 5 April when he told viewers he had lung cancer and needed time to fight the disease.

"He knew that it was an uphill struggle. But he faced it with realism, courage, and a firm hope that he would be one of the fortunate ones," Mr Westin added.

"In the end, he was not."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/08/08 10:36:41 GMT



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