Charles Kuralt

Charles Kuralt Biography

News Anchor, Radio Personality, Journalist (1934–1997)
Charles Kuralt was a multiple Emmy and Peabody Award-winning broadcast journalist who produced the well-loved "On The Road" segments for the CBS Evening News.


Charles Kuralt was born on September 10, 1934 in Wilmington, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but left to pursue journalism. In 1957, Kuralt moved to New York City and became a writer for the CBS Evening News and later a correspondent and primetime host. His "On The Road" segments ran for 20 years and took him to every state in the nation. Kuralt died in 1997.

Early Life

Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, on September 10, 1934, Charles Kuralt seemed destined from an early age to become a journalist. As a boy, he wrote a column for his junior high school's newspaper, and by the age of 14, he was broadcasting baseball and football games for WAYS radio in Charlotte. In 1951, Kuralt entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he edited the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. After his year as editor, he left the university without taking a degree and returned to Charlotte to become general assignment reporter for the Charlotte News. As an aspiring and inspired reporter, he landed a daily column, "Charles Kuralt's People," which he used to describe the lives of everyday citizens. His work earned him the Ernie Pyle prize, attracting national attention.

Professional Life

In 1957, Kuralt moved to New York City to take a job at CBS. His first assignment was writing short radio broadcasts to air hourly between 2 and 6 a.m.. Despite the drudgery of working a graveyard shift, he was thrilled to be working in the same building as his hero, Edward R. Murrow. Soon Kuralt was given the chance to substitute for a writer on Murrow's nightly broadcast. In no time, he was transferred to the fledgling television news department as a writer for the CBS Evening News.

At the age of 23, the network offered Kuralt the title CBS News Correspondent. Living his dream, he traveled wide and far, covering the wars in the Congo, Laos and Vietnam; school integration in the South; and piracy on the high seas. In 1960, he was the first host of the primetime TV series Eyewitness. He reported from many parts of Africa and Asia, from all 23 Latin American nations, and from the Arctic, where he covered the 1967 attempt of the Plaisted Polar Expedition to reach the North Pole.

Ten years after joining CBS, Kuralt took to the back roads of America, producing his famous "On the Road" segment for the CBS Evening News. Over the next 20 years, Kuralt and his crew visited all 50 states in a battered motor home, logging more than a million miles. He did stories on "wrestlers and jugglers and mountain climbers, traffic cops, tattoo artists, gandy dancers, sheep shearers, bagel bakers, horseshoe players, rodeo riders, sorghum makers and seashell collectors." His road-trip adventures provided material for a series of best-selling books, including On the Road with Charles Kuralt and Dateline: America. His other books include To the Top of the World (an account of a trip to the Arctic), North Carolina Is My Home, and his best-selling autobiography, A Life on the Road. Into the 1980s, Kuralt anchored the CBS Sunday Morning show. Over the course of his career, he won three Peabody awards and ten Emmy Awards for his broadcast journalism. Charles Kuralt died in 1997 in New York City at the age of 62.

Personal Life

Kuralt's death brought about the unearthing of an unusually complicated private life. For nearly 30 years, he had maintained one home with his wife in Manhattan, and another with his lover—and her children from a previous marriage

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