- NAME: Chris Matthews
- OCCUPATION: Talk Show Host, Journalist
- BIRTH DATE: December 17, 1945 (Age: 68)
- EDUCATION: College of the Holy Cross, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Full Name: Christopher Matthews
- AKA: Chris Matthews
- ZODIAC SIGN: Sagittarius
Best Known For
Journalist and political commentator Chris Matthews is best known as the talk show host of MSNBC's Hardball and The Chris Matthews Show.
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Chris Matthews was born on December 17, 1945, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Matthews served as presidential speechwriter during the Carter administration. From 1981 to 1987 he was top aide to Tip O'Neill. Afterward, he wrote for the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1997, he began hosting the show Hardball. In 2002, he also became host of The Chris Matthews Show.
"I wanted to make a statement that we had a purpose on the show – to tell the truth."
"I aim for the chalk line. You try to keep it in. If it hits the chalk line, that's perfect. People have that little gasp and say, 'I can't believe he said that.'"
Chris Matthews, the second son of Herbert Charles and Mary Teresa Matthews, was born on December 17, 1945, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chris was raised in a suburb of North Philadelphia, where he attended Catholic school while his father worked as a court stenographer. Chris’ grandfather, a local Democratic committeeman, was Chris’ role model during these formative years, and encouraged his early interest in politics.
After he graduated from a Catholic high school, Chris attended the College of the Holy Cross. He went on to study economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1967. Matthews joined the Peace Corps in 1968, volunteering in Swaziland, Africa, until 1970.
Matthews’ childhood interest in politics carried over into his adulthood. After he returned from his Peace Corps work in Africa, he worked as an aide to U.S. Senator Frank Moss, a Democrat representing Utah. In 1974 Matthews ran for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democratic candidate representing Pennsylvania, but his run proved unsuccessful. In the mid-1970s, Matthew’s moved to Washington, D.C., where he was offered the job of congressional staffer under Senator Edmund Muskie, a Democrat from Maine. From 1974 to 1977, Matthews additionally worked as a staff assistant to the Senate Budget Committee.
When Jimmy Carter became president, Matthews served as his speechwriter. During the Carter administration, Matthews also handled press relations for the President’s Reorganization Project, a directive for reorganizing executive offices and federal government agencies. In 1981 Matthews became top aide to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. Matthews was forced to abandon the position when O’Neill retired in 1987.
The year that Tip O’Neill retired, Matthews took a job as Washington bureau chief of the San Francisco Examiner. Although he was initially paid only $200 a week for his work, Matthews held the position for the next 13 years. During this stint, Matthews covered such significant historical events as the fall of the Berlin Wall. Matthews's work in print journalism also included writing a nationally syndicated column for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Matthews's column in the San Francisco Chronicle led to television appearances on high-profile news talk shows, including Good Morning America. A natural on the small screen, in 1994 Matthews was invited to host his own nightly show, called America’s Talking, on a small NBC-owned station. By 1997, Matthews was the host of Hardball, which has since aired on MSNBC. In 2002, Matthews also became the host of NBC’s weekly Saturday morning program The Chris Matthews Show.
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Since the early days of television, talk show hosts have been among the most popular personalities in the medium. From TV pioneers like Jack Paar and Johnny Carson to daytime legends like Phil Donahue and Oprah Winfrey to late night talkers like Jon Stewart and Jimmy Kimmel, here is a look at the famous hosts who have talked the talk on TV.
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