CORRECTED-News anchor Peter Jennings dies of cancer
Please read in paragraph 18 “Dan Rather ended his 24-year
career as CBS lead anchor in March” instead of “Dan Rather
ended his 24-year career as CBS lead anchor last month.”
By Cal Mankowski
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Peter Jennings, prime-time anchorman
for ABC News for more than two decades, has died of lung cancer
at his home, the network said. He was 67.
The Canadian-born Jennings, host of ABC’s “World News
Tonight” since 1983, died on Sunday, five months after he
announced that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
“Peter died with his family around him, without pain and in
peace. He knew he’d lived a good life,” his family said in a
Jennings was the last of a generation of long-serving lead
anchors for major U.S. broadcasters.
“He was a superb writer,” ABC colleague Barbara Walters
said in a special broadcast on ABC. She also recalled that “no
one could ad-lib like Peter.”
Jennings had a 41-year career with ABC, having joined the
network in 1964. He soon went head-to-head with the toughest
competition in the business, anchoring the network’s prime-time
news from 1965 to 1967 at a time when Walter Cronkite on CBS
and the team of David Brinkley and Chet Huntley on NBC were
Jennings established the first American television news
bureau in the Arab world in 1968 when he served as ABC News’
bureau chief for Beirut, a position he held for seven years.
In 1972, he had a major role in ABC’s coverage of the
Summer Olympics in Munich, when Israeli athletes were taken
“For four decades, Peter has been our colleague, our
friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the
same without him,” ABC News President David Westin wrote in
announcing Jennings’ death to colleagues.
The Toronto-born newsman and high school dropout, who
smoked when he was younger, stunned colleagues when he informed
them of his illness in an e-mail on April 5. He soon began a
program of chemotherapy.
“There will be good days and bad, which means that some
days I may be cranky and some days really cranky,” he wrote.
ABC noted in its special broadcast that Jennings regularly
called into the program during his illness, offering
suggestions, comments and criticisms.
Ted Koppel, anchor of ABC’s “Nightline” program, recalled
the anchor’s dashing good looks, and noted a resemblance to the
actor Roger Moore in some of the James Bond movies.
“He and I joked the last time I went up to visit just a few
days ago that between the two of us we’d put in 83 years at ABC
News.” Koppel said. “He was a warm and loving and surprisingly
Jennings was named anchor and senior editor of “World News
Tonight” in 1983. He won numerous awards and honors in his more
than 20 years in the position.
“It’s impossible to believe that he is not going to be with
us,” Walters said.
The passing of Jennings was the final chapter as an era of
broadcast anchors with a commanding on-air presence came to an
NBC’s Tom Brokaw stepped down in December after 21 years as
anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and Dan Rather ended his 24-year
career as CBS lead anchor in March, after a discredited report
on President Bush’s military service.
Jennings is survived by his wife Kayce Freed, his two
children Elizabeth, 25 and Christopher, 23 and his sister,
ABC Television is part of the Walt Disney Co. .
(Additional reporting by Joanne Allen in Washington)