Roger Mudd, the longtime CBS News correspondent and anchor who later teamed briefly with Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News, has died. He was 93.
Mudd died Tuesday of kidney failure at his home in McLean, VA, according to CBS News.
Mudd was a familiar face for decades on network television, starting on CBS in the early 1960s, as he reported on Congress, politics and government. He became a star correspondent and filled in for Walter Cronkite in the anchor chair in the late 1960s and early 1970s and on the weekend CBS Evening News broadcasts.
But no moment stood out more in Mudd’s career than an interview he did in 1979 with Sen. Edward Kennedy, readying a challenge to President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination. Mudd’s question was short and a bit of a softball — “Why do you want to be president?” — but Kennedy’s answer was all over the map. Kennedy went on to lose the nomination to Carter.
Mudd won a Peabody Award for his work on the special, CBS Reports: Teddy.
Mudd was in contention to succeed Cronkite when he retired in 1981, but Dan Rather won the spot. Mudd then left the network for NBC News, where he was teamed with Tom Brokaw to co-anchor NBC Nightly News, in what seemed like an effort to replicate the chemistry of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. But the pairing didn’t work, and Brokaw the next year became sole anchor. Mudd later served as moderator of Meet the Press and on several NBC attempts to launch a newsmagazine.
Later in his career, Mudd became a correspondent and occasional anchor for MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour, and was an anchor on The History Channel. He also taught at Princeton University.
Before joining CBS News, Mudd worked at D.C. radio station WTOP and for WRNL Radio in Richmond, VA.
He joined CBS News in 1961, and three years later covered the landmark battle to pass the Civil Rights Act. In 1968, he was at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Mudd was one of the last to interview the senator and presidential candidate.
Mudd wrote a 2009 memoir, The Place To Be: Washington, CBS and the Glory Days Of Television News, in which he recounted his days working for a network earning its status as the gold standard of broadcast journalism. Among other things,
Susan Zirinsky, the president and senior executive producer of CBS News, said in a statement that Mudd was “a hero in the CBS News Washington bureau.”
“He was a journalist of enormous integrity and character,” she said. “He would not budge if he believed he was right and would not compromise his ethical standards. He was an inspiration to all of us in the bureau. On a personal note – I sat directly across from him in the D.C. newsroom – Roger was big, not just in his physical presence but he was larger than life.”
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