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Bryant Gumbel

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Also Known As: Bryant Charles Gumbel Died:
Born: September 29, 1948 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Profession: TV host, newscaster, sportscaster, magazine editor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Bryant Gumbel has been a well-spoken, good-looking TV personality in sports and news since he left his post editing "Black Sports" magazine in 1972 to become a sportscaster for KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. His fluid style soon caught the eye of the brass in NY, and Gumbel was tapped by NBC Sports in 1975 to host the pre-game shows before NFL games. His rise was rapid and within a few years Gumbel had become the sole host or lead anchor on NBC's coverage of major league baseball, college basketball and NFL football games. In 1980, sports reporting for NBC's "Today" were added to his duties. By January 1982, he was the anchor of the entire "Today" program. Gumbel quickly proved foolish those pundits who thought a sportscaster could not adapt to news coverage. In 1984, he headed the "Today" team broadcasting live from Moscow, including interviews with Kremlin leaders. Both Gumbel and NBC News received much praise for the effort. Gumbel's identity as a sportscaster had been supplanted. He followed the Moscow trip with coups -- broadcasts from Cuba (including an interview with Fidel Castro), and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). He also began to host primetime documentaries and reality-based programs for...

Bryant Gumbel has been a well-spoken, good-looking TV personality in sports and news since he left his post editing "Black Sports" magazine in 1972 to become a sportscaster for KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. His fluid style soon caught the eye of the brass in NY, and Gumbel was tapped by NBC Sports in 1975 to host the pre-game shows before NFL games. His rise was rapid and within a few years Gumbel had become the sole host or lead anchor on NBC's coverage of major league baseball, college basketball and NFL football games. In 1980, sports reporting for NBC's "Today" were added to his duties. By January 1982, he was the anchor of the entire "Today" program. Gumbel quickly proved foolish those pundits who thought a sportscaster could not adapt to news coverage. In 1984, he headed the "Today" team broadcasting live from Moscow, including interviews with Kremlin leaders. Both Gumbel and NBC News received much praise for the effort. Gumbel's identity as a sportscaster had been supplanted. He followed the Moscow trip with coups -- broadcasts from Cuba (including an interview with Fidel Castro), and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). He also began to host primetime documentaries and reality-based programs for NBC, including "The R.A.C.E." a two-hour quiz on racial attitudes in America.

In 1990, Gumbel was lured back to his sports roots as anchor of championship golf coverage on NBC, and in 1995, he began hosting "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" for HBO. His tenure on "Today" was not without its troubled moments and column coverage. A major brouhaha developed when an internal memo written by Gumbel to NBC brass suggesting changes in "Today" fell into the hands of the consumer press. As part of the memo, Gumbel suggested that weathercaster Willard Scott was not up to snuff for a news show which wanted to be taken seriously. Gumbel's criticisms of Scott were not intended for public consumption, but when they did become public, after several tense days, he apologized to Scott. Gumbel also was critical of the writing on "Today" and strove to make the show a news and not "personality-drive" program. Under his anchor watch, "Today" was either in first place in the early-morning Nielsens, or just a hair behind ABC's "Good Morning America", most often the former. After a 15 year tenure, Gumbel left "Today" on January 3, 1997. Later that year, he signed a lucrative contract with CBS and hosted "Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel", a newsmagazine that premiered in the fall of 1997.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1972:
Joined KNBC-TV sportcaster in Los Angeles
1975:
Joined NBC Sports as co-host of its NFL pre-game show "GrandStand" with Jack Buck
1980:
Was named the sports reporter for "The Today Show" (NBC)
1982:
Replaced Tom Brokaw as a co-anchor on "The Today Show" with Jane Pauley
1984:
Headed the "Today" team to the Soviet Union for an unprecedented series of live broadcasts from Moscow
1988:
Anchored NBC Sports telecast of the 1988 Summer Olympics from Seoul, Korea
1989:
Hosted NBC's two-hour primetime special, "The R.A.C.E."
1989:
Following Pauley's departure from "Today," Gumbel was joined by Deborah Norville in a short-lived partnership that lasted just over a year
1991:
Norville was replaced by Katie Couric, and the Gumbel-Couric team helped refocus Today as the morning news program of choice
1995:
Hosted "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel" for HBO
1997:
Gumbel stepped down from "The Today Show" (NBC) after 15 years
1997:
After leaving NBC, signed multi-million dollar deal with CBS to host a primetime newsmagazine as well as perform other duties for the network
1997:
Hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards
1997:
Hosted the primetime newsmagazine "Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel"
1999:
Returned to morning television hosting CBS' "The Early Show"
2005:
Made a cameo appearance alongside Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine in "The Weather Man," a film directed by Gore Verbinski
2006:
Became a play-by-play announcer for the NFL Network
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Bates College: Lewiston , Maine - 1970

Notes

"When I first got the ["Today"] job, we had a 30th anniversary party over at Tavern on the Green, and Dave Garroway [the original "Today" host] took me aside and said 'Do it for five years and then leave'." --Bryant Gumbel to Electronic Media, January 25, 1993.

"When I first started doing the show, 'Today' was looked at as a kind of rehash of the previous evening's news. And [during his run as host] in great part because of satellite communications being so sophisticated, we've become much more globally oriented and the morning time is seen much more as a cutting edge than the evening news is." --Bryant Gumbel

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
June Gumbel. Former flight attendant. Married in 1973; separated in 1997; Roman Catholic; filed for a legal separation in January 2000; filed for divorce; in January 2001, attempted to amend her divorce petition to add adultery as grounds, claiming Gumbel was a "serial adulterer", a charge his lawyers denied; reportedly arrived at a divorce settlement in April 2001; divorced on August 21, 2001.
wife:
Hillary Quinlan. Former financial researcher. Born c. 1959; reportedly became engaged on December 7, 2001, with a summer 2002 wedding planned; married in August 2002.

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Greg Gumbel. Sportscaster. Born on May 3, 1946.
son:
Bradley Christopher Gumbel. Born c. 1978.
daughter:
Jillian Beth Gumbel. Born c. 1984.

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