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August 05, 2013

John Palmer, Longtime NBC News Correspondent and Anchor

Palmer's 40-year career at NBC included stints as White House correspondent and as news anchor on the Today Show.

John Palmer, a longtime correspondent for NBC News, died August 3, 2013, at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. He was 77.

According to news reports, the cause was pulmonary fibrosis.

A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, Palmer graduated from Northwestern University and earned a master’s degree from Columbia University.

He began his career as a reporter in Atlanta and worked for NBC News from 1962 to 1990, when he left the network to anchor the syndicated news program Instant Recall, on which he interviewed world leaders and other high-profile news figures.

Palmer also hosted Discovery Journal, a weekly program on the Discovery Channel, and anchored a daily newscast on the Christian Science Monitor's television channel.

In 1994, he returned to NBC as a Washington-based national correspondent.

Highlights of Palmer's career included postings in Beirut and Paris. He was NBC's White House correspondent in the late 1970s and early 1980s during which he broke the news of the Carter administration’s failed attempt to rescue the American hostages being held in Iran. For his reporting on the story, Palmer became the first broadcast journalist to receive the Merriman Smith Memorial Award for excellence in presidential news coverage.

From 1982 to 1989, he anchored the news desk of the Today show, and on January 28, 1986, he anchored the first hours of coverage of the Challenger Space Shuttle tragedy.

In a statement, NBC News said, “We are deeply saddened to share the news that we have lost a valued friend and colleague. John was a brilliant, brave and tireless journalist who guided viewers through many of the most significant events of the past half-century -- from the early days of the civil rights movement through the tragedy of 9/11.

“His kindness is remembered by all of us, and it built lasting bonds throughout our news division. John held many positions over the course of his long career with NBC News, but his most treasured role was that of husband and father. Our love and support are with Nancy, Molly and Lee, Carter, Hope and the entire Palmer family.”

Read about his life and work at:

TV News Check

Hollywood Reporter

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