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Overview for David Brinkley
David Brinkley

David Brinkley


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Also Known As: David Mcclure Brinkley Died: June 11, 2003
Born: July 10, 1920 Cause of Death: complications from a fall
Birth Place: Wilmington, North Carolina, USA Profession: Writer ... TV host commentator news anchor journalist newswriter soda jerk author


A veteran television newscaster with a distinctive, clipped vocal delivery, David Brinkley began his journalistic career while still a high school student in his native Wilmington, NC, dropping out of high school in his senior year to write full-time for THE WILMINGTON MORNING STAR. After service in the US Army during WWII, he worked as a Southern stringer for United Press before landing a berth at NBC in 1943 as a newswriter. Eight years later, Brinkley began contributing on-air reports as the Washington correspondent for the nightly news broadcast, "The Camel News Caravan," anchored by John Cameron Swayze. By 1954, he was a contributor to "Caravan," a weekly discussion on topical issues.

Brinkley was first teamed with fellow correspondent Chet Huntley to cover the 1956 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Their seemingly disparate styles (Huntley, with his horn-rimmed glasses, was serious and dependable, while the slender Brinkley could be wry and caustic) worked well together and the duo had "chemistry." The charismatic pairing led to their being named to replace Swayze as the anchor team for the newly revamped "NBC News" in October 1956. Over the years, the show grew from fifteen minutes to a half-hour and their sign-off "Goodnight, Chet. Goodnight, David and goodnight for NBC News" became a pop trademark to a generation of a certain age. The show's title was also changed to "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" and it received numerous award, including several Emmys for Achievement in News. Brinkley proved popular enough to be allowed to host a series of documentaries under the umbrella title of "David Brinkley's Journal" (NBC, 1961-63), which earned back to back Emmy Awards as Best Public Affairs Series in 1962 and 1963.

When Huntley retired in 1970, NBC again revamped the broadcast, with Brinkley alternating as anchor with John Chancellor and Frank McGee. Eventually, from 1976 to 1979, Brinkley and Chancellor served as co-anchors. Brinkley then hosted the network's third attempt at "60 Minutes"-type primetime program, "NBC Magazine with David Brinkley" (1980-81), but the show was scheduled opposite the then-popular CBS primetime soap "Dallas" and its ratings were hardly spectacular. In September 1981, after nearly four decades with NBC, Brinkley resigned and moved to rival ABC. Since then, he has served as a political commentator and hosted a weekly Sunday morning roundtable discussion program, "This Week with David Brinkley" (1981-96).

Over the course of his long career, Brinkley has received numerous awards and honors, including 10 Emmy Awards, three Peabody Awards, and he has covered nearly all of the major political events, ranging from every Presidential inauguration since Eisenhower's in 1957 to Watergate to presidential funerals. He has also written a best-seller, "Washington at War" and his memoirs. Brinkley's son, Joel, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

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