Tom Brokaw was born on February 6, 1940, in Webster, South Dakota. Starting as a radio reporter in college, Brokaw worked his way up to become NBC's Washington correspondent, covering Watergate in 1973. He was named anchor of NBC Nightly News in 1982, and during his tenure as news anchor, he saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and interviewed Mikhail Gorbachev. He remained at the anchor desk until his retirement in 2004. Brokaw's 1998 book, The Greatest Generation, was a best-seller.
Early Life and Career
Television journalist Thomas John Brokaw was born on February 6, 1940, in Webster, South Dakota. The eldest son of a construction worker and a post office clerk, Brokaw graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in political science in 1962. He started as a radio reporter in college, and after graduating he found work as the editor of a morning news program in Omaha, Nebraska. He also served as a news anchor and editor in Atlanta, Georgia, before becoming a KNBC late-night presenter in Los Angeles (1965-73).
'NBC Nightly News' and Retirement
While serving as NBC's Washington correspondent (1973-76), Tom Brokaw covered several top stories, including the Watergate scandal. He went on to host Today (1976-82), leaving that role in 1982 to become co-anchor of NBC Nightly News alongside Roger Mudd. Brokaw took over as sole anchor of the program in 1983, remaining in that post until 2004.
During his tenure, Brokaw reported on the live opening of the Berlin Wall, conducted a historic 1987 interview with Mikhail Gorbachev and "awarded" the 2000 election to Al Gore before retracting the following morning. Brokaw postponed his retirement in order to cover the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States. He retired from NBC Nightly News in 2004 and was replaced by Brian Williams.
In addition to his historic reign in the anchor seat, Tom Brokaw is known for producing many specials for NBC, including 2001's "The Greatest Generation Speaks," based on Brokaw's best-selling 1998 book, The Greatest Generation.
Brokaw has kept busy during his retirement, hosting History Channel documentaries, delivering speeches and eulogies, and serving on the board of directors for several organizations, among other roles.
Brokaw returned to the NBC anchor desk on June 13, 2008, to announce the tragic death of friend and colleague Tim Russert. Brokaw would act as interim host for Russert's successful Sunday morning series, Meet the Press, until a suitable replacement could be found. He also hosted the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain on October 7, 2008, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Health and Personal Life
In February 2014, a 74-year-old Brokaw announced that he'd been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer affected the blood cells in bone marrow, in August 2013. According to NBC News, doctors remain optimistic about Brokaw's outlook and treatment.
"With the exceptional support of my family, medical team and friends, I am very optimistic about the future and look forward to continuing my life, my work and adventures still to come. I remain the luckiest guy I know," the longtime TV journalist said in a statement, adding, "I am very grateful for the interest in my condition, but I also hope everyone understands I wish to keep this a private matter."
Brokaw and wife Meredith Lynn Auld have been married since 1962. The couple has three daughters, Jennifer, Andrea and Sarah.
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