Garrick Utley dies, was 74

Today | Robert Feder

Garrick Utley has died, NBC News reports. He was 74 and had cancer. Utley worked for NBC from 1963-1993 and covered the Vietnam War among other events. He was the moderator of "Meet the Press" and later reported for ABC and CNN. In 2012 he joined the faculty of the State University of New York at Oswego.

Utley was "Always the complete gentleman," Tom Brokaw wrote in a note to NBC News staffers Thursday (full note below).

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Robert Feder writes that Utley began his career at the Chicago Sun-Times as a copy boy.

Utley joined NBC News in 1963 as an assistant to John Chancellor in the network’s Brussels bureau. The following year, he was assigned to the Saigon bureau, where he was among the first television correspondents to cover the Vietnam War. He went on to report from more than 70 countries, winning numerous honors including an Edward R. Murrow Award and George Foster Peabody Award.

After three decades at NBC News, Utley joined ABC News as London-based chief foreign correspondent. He later moved to CNN, where he co-anchored coverage of the September 11 attacks and served as a special correspondent and contributor.

A recent "NBC Flashback" showed Utley reporting on the death of President Johnson.

Here's Brokaw's note:

As a long-time friend and colleague of NBC newsman Garrick Utley, I am sad to share the news that he has passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Garrick was the first of our generation to crack the starting line-up of NBC News in the glory days of Huntley-Brinkley. He was NBC’s first Saigon bureau chief and, later, ran our London and Paris bureaus before returning home to anchor a weekly magazine show and serve as fill-in anchor for John Chancellor on “Weekend Nightly.” Garrick was a man for all seasons—a national political correspondent, moderator of “Meet the Press” and anchor of “Weekend TODAY.”

Always the complete gentleman, he was a gifted linguist, speaking flawless German, French and Spanish—and sharing his passion for opera with colleagues and NPR audiences. Bill Wheatley said recently, “Garrick was the quintessential foreign correspondent,” from Vietnam to the old Soviet Union, from Northern Ireland to the Eastern Bloc. Garrick embodied the history of NBC News for most of the latter half of the 20th Century and he will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his wife Gertje, an art historian; a brother Jonathon; and sister-in-law Carol Marin, Chicago’s leading political reporter at our NBC affiliate, WMAQ.

The TODAY show aired a lovely tribute this morning:

--Tom Brokaw

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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