Monday, August 08, 2005

PETER JENNINGS (1938 - 2005)

Am very saddened to hear of Peter Jennings' passing late last evening, having succumbed to the lung cancer he had been fighting for several months.

His wife, former 20/20 producer Kayce Freed, and two children, Elizabeth and Christopher, released the following statement:

"Peter died with his family around him, without pain and in peace. He knew he'd lived a good life,"

ABC News president David Westin announced Mr. Jennings passing with this comment:

"For four decades, Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the same without him.

"As you all know, Peter learned only this spring that the health problem he'd been struggling with was lung cancer. With Kayce, he moved straight into an aggressive chemotherapy treatment. He knew that it was an uphill struggle. But he faced it with realism, courage, and a firm hope that he would be one of the fortunate ones. In the end, he was not.

"We will have many opportunities in the coming hours and days to remember Peter for all that he meant to us all. It cannot be overstated or captured in words alone. But for the moment, the finest tribute we can give is to continue to do the work he loved so much and inspired us to do."

Jennings' cool, suave presentation likely came partially from genetics. His father, Charles Jennings, was the first nightly news anchor in Canadian television and later headed the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Peter began his media career at a very early age, hosting a CBC Radio programme called Peter's People at the age of nine. He followed in his father's footsteps, being named the anchorman when the Canadian commercial television network CTV launched it's late night national newscast at age 23 and remaining in that position until ABC offered him a job three years later when he got noticed working the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

It's truly amazing that Mr. Jennings never graduated from high school or attended college. He made up for it by being a student of the world, and was also known as a patron of the arts, especially his love for jazz music.

His passing marks the end of an era, with the earlier retirements of NBC's Tom Brokaw and CBS's Dan Rather.

A fine journalist; an excellent competitor. Rest in peace.


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