Sunday, August 07, 2005

Peter Jennings Passes Away

Source: CNN.com Longtime ABC "World News Tonight" anchor Peter Jennings died Sunday of lung cancer, according to the ABC news network. He was 67.

His death came nearly four months to the day since he announced in a hoarse voice on his evening newscast that he had been diagnosed with the disease.

At a time when all three major broadcast networks saw their evening news anchor spots change hands in less than a year, Jennings' departure was a surprise. Both NBC's Tom Brokaw and CBS' Dan Rather announced their plans well in advance, but Jennings' illness forced a quick decision.

Jennings, a native Canadian who became a U.S. citizen in 2003, said he would continue to host "World News Tonight" when possible. Since the announcement, ABC News' Charles Gibson and Elizabeth Vargas have filled in for him as temporary anchors.

But he said he was determined to fight the disease, citing National Cancer Institute statistics that nearly 10 million Americans are living with cancer. "I have a lot to learn from them, and 'living' is the key word," he said.

Since April 5, when Jennings announced his diagnosis on the news program, he kept his public comments positive. Even during the initial announcement, he said he would be undergoing chemotherapy and joked about losing his hair.

"I wonder if other men and women ask their doctors right away, 'OK, doc, when does the hair go?'" said the immaculately dressed and coifed Jennings.

He acknowledged being a smoker until about 20 years ago, and said he "was weak, and I smoked over 9/11."

In an April 29 letter posted on the ABC News' site, Jennings said he had been "spoiled rotten" by well-wishers and added, "I assume there are a few others out there who, like me, are going with the flow until the day gets better."

Since he began anchoring the program in 1983, Jennings won numerous awards, including a National Headline Award and a George Foster Peabody award. He also won 16 Emmys, according to the ABC News Web site.

Asked how it felt after anchoring ABC's evening news program for 20 years, Jennings told CNN's Larry King on Sept. 8, 2003, "Seems like yesterday; seems like forever -- all at the same time."

"It's sort of, how do you measure it? Do you measure the fact that I'm 20 years older? No. I think I measure it by the events. You know, I came just as the Cold War was coming to an end."

"When you think about the events that we've been through, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to, I guess you'd say, 9/11 being the culmination at the end of that, of that scope, what extraordinary changes there have been."

Jennings was born July 29, 1938 in Toronto with journalism in his blood. His father, Charles, was the first voice of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation when it was established in the mid-1930s. At age 9, Jennings hosted "Peter's People," a short-lived Saturday morning children's show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

A high school dropout, Jennings worked as a bank teller for several years before moving into radio and then into television in 1961. He was hired by ABC in 1964.

The following year, when he was 26, Jennings was picked to anchor "The ABC Evening News." But two years later, he told his bosses he needed more seasoning and returned to field reporting, CNN Correspondent Jeff Greenfield, a former ABC News employee, has said.

He became a foreign correspondent for the network, covering such stories as the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, when members of the Arab terrorist group Black September seized the Israeli compound and took athletes hostage before eventually killing them.

After he took the anchor chair of World New Tonight, Jennings led ABC's coverage of the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

"On 9/11, those of us who do the jobs that I do, flew without a net for hour and hour and hour after end. And then you hope and pray that you've had the experience to be up to it. Because then you're editor, analyst, reporter, correspondent, ringmaster, the whole thing.

An ABC spokesman said in April that Jennings had been feeling ill for a couple of months and underwent a number of tests before the diagnosis was made. He did not travel to cover the tsunami in South Asia in December 2004 or the death of Pope John Paul II earlier this year.

When the announcement of Jennings' diagnosis was made, ABC did not divulge the stage of his cancer. Cancer stages range from 1 to 4, with 4 being the most advanced.

The network's "World News Tonight" Web site has maintained an online forum where viewers could post expressions of support and good wishes for Jennings. It has also posted statements from Jennings thanking viewers for their support and his thoughts on topics such as the recent terrorist bombings in London.

The last posting came on July 29, Jennings' birthday. "Many thanks to all of you for your birthday wishes," the statement from Jennings said. "Your words -- as always -- are a great source of strength. I am celebrating today with my family -- we are all grateful."


UPDATE: Check out THIS bio package from former ABC'er Tom Foreman.
Additional: HERE's ABC's look back at the career of Jennings.

37 Comments:

At 11:31 PM, August 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

America lost a great journalist.

 
At 3:05 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so here's a question i have had for quite some time now regarding main network anchors...when a story breaks and they do a special report in the morning hours, how is it that most of the time the main anchor (jennings, rather, williams, etc...) are on the desk? how do they get there and what kind of crazy hours do these types of people keep?

 
At 8:11 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

America lost a Candian who really didn't love America that much... remember how he wouldn't let Toby Keith perform on the July 4 special? Maybe Jennings will be buried in France.

 
At 8:56 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay... so we get it already... Peter Jennings is dead. It's painful to watch these GMA people go on and on about him.

Jennings was an elitist who looked down on most people. It's just true.

 
At 9:55 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

never surprising in here alot of local yokels who are jealous they will NEVER step foot in a network anchor chair, or for that matter make a step up period. you deserve to stay right where you are and rot your rears off the rest of your years.

 
At 10:02 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know what the above poster is talking about. I'm not talking about Jennings as a broadcaster... but as a person. He looked down his nose at most things American.

 
At 10:02 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would anyone put their feet in a network anchor chair? Aren't you supposed to sit in a chair ?

 
At 10:28 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

alot of smart butts in here i wouldn't want to meet none of you people on the street.

 
At 10:44 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"America lost a Candian who really didn't love America that much"

First, you need to learn how to spell Canadian. Second, you and the person who said he "looked down his nose at most things American" need to get your facts straight. Jennings got dual citizenship just a few years ago. If he didn't love America, he wouldn't have stayed here so long.

If you didn't like him, that's your right, but I think you already know that you're in the minority. If you don't want to hear people on TV talk about him, don't watch. They'll move on to something else soon enough.

He hasn't even been dead for a day yet. Have some respect.

 
At 11:01 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He didn't respect America while he was alive.

 
At 11:03 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jennings stayed in America for the huge paycheck and the wonderfully rich life that America afforded him. He was the kind of man who enjoyed the wealth of this country, yet, despised the system that created such wealth. He wouldn't have made such huge money in a near-socialist Canada.

 
At 11:06 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canada is spelled:

JustToTheRightOfFrance

 
At 12:21 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are so right. Peter Jennings did use America to get rich and famous and travel the globe. Oh, but wait! You guys are in America, too! But you're stuck in Arkansas with nothing better to do than stay glued to the Internet and talk about a dead guy. HA! HA! LOSERS!!!!!

 
At 1:42 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I AM UTTERLY SHOCKED AT THE CRUDE COMMENTS MANY OF YOU HAVE LEFT. YOU ACT LIKE EXPERTS ON A MAN YOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW. I'M EMBARRASSED AND SICKENED BY YOUR LACK OF RESPECT. MAY MANY NASTY THINGS BE SPOKEN OF **YOU** THE DAY OF YOUR DEMISE.

 
At 1:58 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am udderly shocked.... mooooooo !

 
At 2:24 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you KNOW we didn't know him? Ya know ? You seem like a know-it-all... but I don't know.

 
At 2:34 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just find it fascinating that a CANADIAN could be hired by ABC in 1964, work all those years covering AMERICAN news and events around the world, earning a living from a UNITED STATES business, and not think it *necessary* to become a CITIZEN of the UNITED STATES until 2003. Talk about illegal aliens robbing the banks!!!! To all the US born & legalized reporters out there, guess who got your raise!!!

 
At 3:19 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet he got paid in American dollars... but that he will be buried in Canadia?

Yeah, I know Canadia isn't correct... but it sounds funny.

 
At 4:09 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter was the best guy named Peter in the business.

 
At 4:19 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't like Jennings as a person or a reporter but he was not an illegal alien who stole work and pay from American reporters. To work for ABC for as long as he did and be in the public light as long as he was he couldn't be illegal. He had to have a workers permit to be in America as long as he was.

 
At 4:31 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure he had a work permit... but it didn't stop him from showing his disapproval of the American way of life. Well, that' a little overblown, but this IS a blog.

 
At 4:32 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was a guy with a job... but it would have helped the country more if he had been out picking tomatoes with his illegal alien brothers. I mean, after all, fresh veggies are more important than TV!

 
At 4:48 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The coverage today makes it seem like this guy was the pope or something!

 
At 6:54 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought of him as my dove.

 
At 8:33 AM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes... he was my older dove. But now Beth and Christina are my little doves.

 
At 8:51 AM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The nice thing about a dove... is that they fly away.

 
At 11:11 AM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Michelle Rupp. She's got that inner glow that shines all the time.

 
At 1:06 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the Little Rock reporters are more like pigeons... and even crows.

 
At 1:11 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know who has inner glow? Juliette Huddy has inner glow... and all sorts of glow... she just looks like a glowing glow-girl. She is so amazingly hot... I would watch her read the phone book.

She is my little, glowing dove !

 
At 1:14 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will ND's realize that viewers don't care about journalism... we want hot babes who glow like a dove !

If we want journalism, we'll go read the newspaper.

 
At 9:49 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see they're doing ANOTHER tribute to Jennings tonight... I wanna puke.

 
At 10:53 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go ahead. You deserve it.

 
At 12:07 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not exactly sure how to take that!

 
At 12:07 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think they'll sing "O Canada" at his funeral?

 
At 1:54 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter, Peter... cigarette eater... had some lungs but couldn't keep 'em.

If I ever wanted to start smoking... I would just get the nicotine patches. That way you get a fix... but without inhaling.

 
At 8:18 AM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you see the KATV girls talking about watching the Peter Jennings tribute last night? Beth even said she was crying!

Peter wasn't the pope, ya know. Or even a leader. He was just a news guy who smoked too much and used VERY expensive lighters to show off his wealth.

 
At 12:38 PM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're just jealous because Beth won't be crying for you when you take a dirt nap.

 

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