August 15, 2005 by

Peter Jennings


Categories: Writers/Editors

pjennings.jpgEach night for more than 20 years, millions of people turned on their television sets to watch Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings deliver the news. With a thoughtful expression on his handsome face, he shared world events in a dignified manner that inspired unwavering respect and trust from his audience.
A native of Toronto, Canada, Jennings was born to Charles Jennings, the first voice of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and his wife, Elizabeth Jennings, an ardent Canadian nationalist. Even as a child, it was clear Peter was destined to end up on television. At nine, he was already hosting “Peter’s Program,” a Saturday morning children’s show on CBC radio. Although he was a voracious reader, Jennings dropped out of high school and worked as a bank teller for several years.
In the early 1960s, Jennings conducted interviews for CFJR radio, and hosted two shows on the CBC. He moved on to co-anchor CTV National News and was the first Canadian journalist in Dallas after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Jennings was covering the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J., when the president of ABC News offered him a job at the network. He was only 25 years old when he accepted the position three months later. Within a year, Jennings became the anchorman of a news program that aired in direct competition with the CBS News show anchored by Walter Cronkite.
Jennings was a natural at the desk, but he yearned to gain more experience in the field. He became a foreign correspondent for the network, established the first American television news bureau in the Arab world and covered both the hostage situation at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games and South Africa’s struggle for equality in the 1970s and 1980s. He watched the Berlin Wall go up and was there 30 years later when it came down. Jennings also interviewed dozens of world leaders, such as Yasir Arafat, Anwar Sadat and the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini. In 1983, he began anchoring “World News Tonight,” a job he held for more than two decades. When terrorists attacked the U.S. on Sept 11, 2001, he remained on the air for more than 12 consecutive hours.
In addition to his anchoring, Jennings covered a wide variety of issues in the prime-time specials “Peter Jennings Reporting.” He co-wrote “The Century” and “In Search of America” with Todd Brewster, and won numerous awards, including 16 Emmys, two George Foster Peabody Awards, a National Headliner Award, the Goldsmith Career Award and several Overseas Press Club Awards.
Jennings became a U.S. citizen in 2003 and was named a member of the Order of Canada earlier this month. When he announced he had lung cancer at the end of a broadcast last April, thousands of people flooded the ABC message board with expressions of support.
“He fought like a tiger, the way he fought for every story. I don’t think until the very end he was without hope. He really thought he was going to beat this,” Jennings’ ex-wife Kati Marton said.
The veteran newsman died on Aug. 7 of the disease. He was 67.
Full Coverage From ABC
Watch a Video Retrospective of Jennings’ Career
Watch a Tribute From USA Today

4 Responses to Peter Jennings

  1. Colette

    I have enjoyed Peters broadcasts for the majority of my life. He has kept me up to date with all the latest news, in and out of our country. He has touched the lives of many. Rest in Peace after a job well done. Thank you, Peter Jennings.

  2. Zulia Pertuz Cuza

    My tribute towards Jennings has been an every day tribute. Tribute to his talent, to his personality, integral I may say, because Jennings was a extraordinary journalist, he reached millions with is particular way of saying, with his “good man” image, with his sensitivity and sensibility. I believe his was a loyal citizen of world.
    Jennings came to Cuba in 1996 and met and spoke with the President of Cuba, Commander Fidel with respect. I am sure that he valued what he saw. Of course that made the conservative very angry.Jennings was not a communist, nor a revolutionary, but he was inteligent and sensitive human been. A professional.
    I studied journalism in a very good school in Cuba, with very good professors I may say.(University of Havana). From 1969 to 1973 I lived in New York and seeing and hearing Peter Jennings gave me a Master Degree.
    Jennings was a proof that to be a good journalist, anchorman, etc. college is not really needed. With talent, sensitivity and courage you can be the best, and Jennings was that. The best.
    !Christofer and Elizabeth must be very proud of their father!
    Zulia Pertuz

  3. John Ramos

    Today, watching the Emmy’s i learned that Peter Jennings passed away. I knew he had lung cancer before i went to Peru for three months on June 12, 2005. I was watching the Emmy’s and they were commemorating Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings. I was expecting all three to come out but the last image they showed was a picture of him and the numbers, 1938 – 2005. My mouth dropped to the floor, i couldnt believe it. This man who was like a teacher to me eventhough i never met him. I said to myself sitting on my bed, ” Get the F*** out of here” and ” No, your kidding me”. I seriously was about to tear, especially when i saw one of his clips, where he was about to cry during 9/11. I’m 20 years old and my name is John Ramos. I’ve been in this country for the last 13 years and i hope to one day be a History teacher. No one would look at me and think, “this kid watches World news tonight with Peter Jennings”. I wont lie to you and say i watched him every day and i never missed one of this newscasts. I did miss many because i work like many other minorities in this country. But when i had a chance i put the timer on my dishnetwork box so i wouldnt miss his newscasts every day at 6:30, on ABC. He was like my current events teacher and in part also my History teacher. I will miss him a whole lot and at this moment while im typing i really do want to cry because this man deserved many more years to live. I also smoked a whole lot since my teenage years but i promised myself after coming back from Peru i would stop. I have, but with this news of Peter Jennings passing away from Lung Cancer, I wont promise anyone but i will definitely try my souls best to not start again. Thank You Peter Jennings, i say his name as if i knew him very well, i think i did because he taught me a lot and inspired me to be like him, a teacher. Thank You, again Peter Jennings. Thanks for making me learn more about the world. John Pablo Ramos

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