Scott Pelley Biography

News Anchor, Journalist (1957–)
Scott Pelley is an American journalist known for his work on the TV newsmagazine '60 Minutes' and on 'CBS News With Scott Pelley.'


Scott Pelley was born in 1957 in San Antonio, Texas, and graduated from Texas Tech University. He got his start in journalism in Lubbock as a copy boy at age 15, eventually working his way to the much larger media market of Dallas/Fort Worth. From there Pelley relocated to New York, where he joined CBS News as a reporter. In 2004, he joined the cast of the popular news magazine 60 Minutes. In 2011, Pelley became the managing editor and anchor of the nightly CBS Evening News and helmed CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley to much acclaim.

Early Years

Scott Pelley was born July 28, 1957, in San Antonio, Texas, to parents John Elmer Pelley, Jr., an Air Force pilot and entrepreneur, and Wanda Pelley. As a young child during the Space Race, he dreamt of becoming an astronaut, but he soon developed an avid interest in photography. His path in life changed when Pelley began his illustrious journalism career at age 15, when he took the job of copy boy at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. The executive editor of the Avalanche-Journal took notice of his enthusiasm around the office and offered to make Pelley a reporter.

“That was the end of my photography career and the beginning of my reporting career,” Pelley has said of putting his foot firmly on the first rung of the journalism ladder.

He stayed on with the station, Lubbock’s KSEL-TV, for a few years, while also attending nearby Texas Tech University, where he studied journalism. His skills developing, Pelley brought his love of photography back into the mix briefly, serving as cameraman, film process technician and editor while also carrying out his writing and producing duties. Wearing several hats like this was a trial by fire for Pelley, and he thrived in this demanding, jack-of-all-trades role.

World Stage

Once his college career came to a close, and his skill set was well on the way to being developed, Pelley next approached the larger KXAS-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth, aggressively pursuing a reporter position until the station’s director hired him on. Moving from the 137th largest market in the country to the 10th was a huge step, and Pelley credits his confidence and perseverance for getting him where he wanted to go.

He stayed in the Dallas/Fort Worth area until 1989, at which time he moved to New York City to become a reporter with CBS News. This was a huge step for Pelley, as was taking on a flurry of international assignments, such as covering the Gulf War from a new home base in Saudi Arabia. During this period, he also covered such diverse stories as the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1992 presidential race.

In 1997, Pelley became CBS’s chief White House correspondent and broke the Monica Lewinsky story and immersed himself in the 1998 impeachment proceedings of President Bill Clinton.

He was also one of the first to report from the World Trade Center after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

60 Minutes and CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley

In 2004, Pelley made another prestigious career move, joining the cast of the long-running,  newsmagazine 60 Minutes, where he’s made a lasting impression, bringing in half of the show’s major awards over the years (among them, 29 Emmys). As usual, Pelley’s stories were far-ranging, groundbreaking and notable fodder for water-cooler talk nationwide. And interviews with such figures as one of the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made Pelley a force in TV journalism.

In 2011, after Katie Couric's departure, Pelley became the managing editor and anchor of the CBS Evening News, and CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley has since garnered a slew of awards, among them the Peabody and several Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards.

Personal Life

Pelley married wife Jane Boone in 1983 and the couple have two children, son Reece and daughter Blair. He lends his time to the International Rescue Committee, a world humanitarian aid organization.

"The happiest people I have met are those in service to others. They range from young Americans working with the International Rescue Committee saving lives of refugees stumbling out of the barren desert of Somalia to the generous folks of Seminole County, Fla., donating food and clothes to homeless families who need a hand to get back up from the Great Recession."

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