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Agronsky, Martin (12 January 1915–25 July 1999), broadcast journalist and commentator, was born Martin Zama Agronsky, the son of Isador Agronsky and Marcia Dvorin Agronsky, Jewish immigrants from Minsk, Russia (now Belarus). Born and raised in Philadelphia, he attended public schools and studied journalism at Rutgers University, where he received a bachelor of science degree in 1936. On graduating, Agronsky traveled to Jerusalem to take a job as a reporter with the ...

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David Brinkley. January 1989. Courtesy of AP Images.

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Brinkley, David (10 July 1920–11 June 2003), broadcast journalist, was born David McClure Brinkley in Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of William Graham Brinkley, a railroad worker, and Mary MacDonald West. Brinkley's father died when the boy was eight, leaving him in the care of a dour, deeply religious mother. Brinkley, seeking escape through reading, spent hours at the Wilmington Public Library. He also enjoyed writing. Encouraged by his high school English teacher, Brinkley worked part‐time at Wilmington's afternoon newspaper, the ...

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John Chancellor Left, dividing a map of political news coverage with Sander Vanocur, far right, and Frank McGee, kneeling, c. 1962. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-115925).

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Chancellor, John (14 July 1927–12 July 1996), television reporter, anchorman, commentator, and documentarian, was born John William Chancellor and raised in Chicago, Illinois, the only child of E. M. J. Chancellor and Mary Barrett Chancellor, hoteliers. Despite comfortable middle-class circumstances and a pronounced appetite for learning, he had little patience with formal education, preferring to adventure into such blue-collar jobs as carpenter's assistant and Mississippi riverboat deckhand while still a teenager....

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Collingwood, Charles Cummings (04 June 1917–03 October 1985), broadcast journalist and foreign correspondent, was born in Three Rivers, Michigan, the son of George Harris Collingwood, a professor and forester, and Jean Grinnell Cummings. In 1935 Collingwood spent two years at Deep Springs College in Death Valley, California, an experimental school modeled on the Oxford system. In 1937 Collingwood transferred to Cornell, where he graduated cum laude in 1939. The same year he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship. In 1940, while attending Oxford University, he worked for the United Press wire service. In March 1941 he was invited by ...

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Howard Cosell Left, with Muhammad Ali on WABC radio's "Speaking of Everything with Howard Cosell." Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-120434).

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Cosell, Howard (25 March 1920–23 April 1995), radio and television sportscaster, was born Howard William Cohen in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants Isidore (or Isadore) Cohen and Nellie (maiden name unknown). Cosell’s father, an accountant at a credit clothier, moved his family to Brooklyn, New York, where Howard attended public schools. He graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School with an outstanding academic record in 1938. Cosell, who ran track and played varsity basketball, served as the sports editor of the high school newspaper. After graduating from high school, he wanted to become a newspaper reporter, but his parents persuaded him to pursue a law career instead....

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Nancy Dickerson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Dickerson, Nancy (27 January 1927–18 October 1997), television news correspondent and producer, was born Nancy Conners Hanschman in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, the daughter of Frederick R. Hanschman and Florence Conners Hanschman. Reared in the suburbs west of Milwaukee, she enrolled after high school graduation in Clarke College, an all-women's Catholic school in Dubuque, Iowa. After two years Hanschman transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where she pursued a liberal arts degree, studying English and foreign languages. She graduated in 1948....

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Frederick, Pauline Annabel (13 February 1908–09 May 1990), journalist, was born in Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Matthew Phillip Frederick, a postmaster, and Susan Catharine Stanley. The family later settled in Harrisburg, where her father worked for the state in jobs ranging from factory inspector to director of the Bureau of Industrial Relations....

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Friendly, Fred W. (30 October 1915–03 March 1998), broadcast journalist and television producer, was born Ferdinand Friendly Wachenheimer in New York City, the son of Samuel Wachenheimer, a jewelry manufacturer, and Therese Friendly Wachenheimer. Around 1926 his family moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Although he was an undistinguished student, he was fervently interested in radio and history during his youth. After graduating from Hope Street High School, he attended Nichols Junior College in Dudley, Massachusetts, majoring in business administration. In 1937 he was hired as a radio announcer and newscaster at a station in Providence, where his employers insisted that he change his name to Fred Friendly. During his tenure at the station he wrote and narrated five-minute documentaries about men such as the inventors ...

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Garagiola, Joe (12 Feb. 1926–23 March 2016), baseball player, broadcaster, and television personality, was born Joseph Henry Garagiola in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Giovanni Garagiola, a brickyard worker, and his wife, Angelica, both Italian immigrants from near Milan. He grew up in the Italian neighborhood known as “the Hill,” across the street from his lifelong friend and baseball Hall of Famer, Yogi Berra. As the quintessential storyteller Garagiola told it, “Not only was I not the best catcher in the major leagues, I was not the best catcher on my street!” (...

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Garroway, Dave (13 July 1913–21 July 1982), television broadcaster, was born David Cunningham Garroway, Jr., in Schenectady, New York, the son of David Garroway, a mechanical engineer, and Bertha Tanner. Garroway’s father worked for General Electric, and the family moved often before settling in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1927. Garroway developed a keen interest in astronomy and built several telescopes before graduating from St. Louis University High School in 1931. He continued his education at Washington University, also in St. Louis, and graduated with a degree in English in 1935. After a brief stay at the Harvard Business School in 1936, Garroway, with the help of a friend, published ...

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Gifford, Frank (16 Aug. 1930–9 Aug. 2015), professional football player and broadcaster, was born Frank Newton Gifford in Santa Monica, California, the youngest of three children of Weldon Wayne Gifford, an oil and shipyards worker, and Lola Mae (Hawkins) Gifford.

Frank was a shy boy whose lisp made him self-conscious. His family moved through Depression-era trailer camps, hunting work. Football bolstered his confidence, and the sport became his lifelong identity. He was co-captain of the Bakersfield High School Drillers, who became San Joaquin Valley football champions in ...

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Red Grange. Red Grange [second from right], signing a movie contract, with his manager, Charles C. Pyle, standing alongside. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105233).

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Grange, Red (13 June 1903–28 January 1991), football player, coach, and broadcaster, was born Harold Edward Grange in Forksville, Pennsylvania, the son of Lyle Grange, a lumber camp foreman, and Sadie Sherman. When Grange’s mother died in 1908, his father moved the family, which included Red’s older sisters and his three-year-old brother, to Wheaton, Illinois, where the elder Grange had grown up. Years later, Red, as he was nicknamed because of his auburn hair, recalled that “at first I missed Forksville terribly,” but as time passed he realized that Wheaton “offered a more civilized way of life.”...

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Heatter, Gabriel (17 September 1890–30 March 1972), broadcast commentator, was born on the Lower East Side of New York City, the son of Henry Heatter, a tailor, and Anna Fishman. Both of Heatter’s parents were immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He grew up in a Jewish community in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, leaving high school without a diploma. In 1915 he married Saidie Hermalin, a schoolteacher; they had two children. Heatter began his journalism career first as a part-time reporter for a Brooklyn newspaper and in 1909 as a full-time reporter for the ...

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Chet Huntley Right, with David Brinkley. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-115929).

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Huntley, Chet (10 December 1911–20 March 1974), broadcast journalist, was born Chester Robert Huntley in Cardwell, Montana, the son of Percy Adams “Pat” Huntley, a railroad telegrapher, and Blanche Wadine Tatham, a former schoolteacher. In 1913 his parents claimed a homestead on 960 acres of land near Saco in northern Montana. Chet’s earliest memories were of farm chores, and his early schooling was in a one-room schoolhouse built on a corner of his parents’ land, where he was taught to read by phonics (sounding out letters), a system he later advocated....