Bill Kurtis Biography

Journalist, Television Producer (1940–)
Bill Kurtis, American journalist, was a successful television journalist turned producer of several successful programs, like the American Justice series.


Bill Kurtis, born in Pensacola, Florida, gained television success as an anchor and foreign reporter, he covered the fall of Saigon. He transitioned away from traditional news and started his own production company to make a variety of programs for A & E Television Network. Additionally, Kurtis has written two books on himself and the death penalty in the United States.


Journalist, producer, author. Born on September 21, 1940, in Pensacola, Florida. Bill Kurtis has more than 40 years of experience as an award-winning journalist. He grew up in Independence, Kansas, and studied journalism at the University of Kansas. After earning his degree, Kurtis decided to go to law school at Washburn University.

At the start of his career, Bill Kurtis worked for a television station in Topeka, Kansas, before moving to Chicago in 1966 to work for WBBM-TV. In 1970, he joined the staff of a CBS station in Los Angeles and soon had his first taste of national news, serving as a contributor to CBS Reports. He returned to Chicago in 1973 to become a news anchor at his old station. During this time, he won several awards for his reporting. Kurtis covered the war in Vietnam, including the fall of Saigon, and created a documentary about the city??s orphans.

In 1982, Bill Kurtis joined the national program, CBS Morning News, as a co-host. But after three years, he returned to Chicago, resuming his role as anchor at WBBM-TV. In 1990, Kurtis began a new phase of his career as a host and producer of documentary television series. Establishing his own production company, Kurtis Productions, he created Investigative Reports, Cold Case Files, and other programs for the A&E Television Network. As a producer, Kurtis earned two Emmy Award nominations for Cold Case Files for Outstanding Nonfiction Series in 2004 and 2005. He also serves as host on the popular American Justice series, which looks at famous legal cases and their impact on the law.

In addition to his television work, Bill Kurtis has written two books: Bill Kurtis on Assignment (1983) and The Death Penalty on Trial: Crisis in American Justice (2004). He also lent his deep and distinguished voice to the 2004 news comedy The Legend of Ron Burgundy starring Will Farrell.

Devoted to his home state, Bill Kurtis has invested in several businesses there and operates a ranch near the town of Sedan. Commitment to conservation, he serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Foundation.

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