October 17, 2011

Eleanor Mondale, Television Personality and Political Scion

The daughter of former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale was an entertainment reporter for E! and CBS.

Eleanor Mondale Poling, the daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale, died September 17, 2011, at her farm in Prior Lake, Minnesota. She was 51.

According to news reports, the cause was brain cancer, which she had been diagnosed with in 2005 after suffering two seizures during a camping trip.

Poling worked for many years in the television industry, principally as an entertainment reporter.

The middle child of Walter and Joan Mondale’s three children, she was born in Minneapolis on Jan. 19, 1960.

When she was four years old, her father was appointed to the Senate seat vacated by Hubert H. Humphrey, who had become President Lyndon B. Johnson’s vice president.

After graduating from St. Lawrence University, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting work, and scored small parts in several television shows, including Three’s Company and Dynasty.

She began her broadcasting career in the late 1980s as a Chicago disc jockey. In 1989, she became an entertainment reporter at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. She later worked as disc jockey at Minneapolis radio station WLOL-FM, and as an on-air personality at the E!, ESPN and CBS’s This Morning.

She campaigned for her father during his unsuccessful run to defeat President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and in the 2002 campaign, when Mondale took the slot of Sen. Paul Wellstone, who had died in a plane crash prior to the election.

Mondale was married three times — to former NFL player Keith Van Horne, DJ Greg Thunder and musician Chan Poling of the band the Suburbs.

In addition to her husband and parents, she is survived by her brothers, Ted Mondale, a former Minnesota state senator, and William H. Mondale, a former assistant attorney general of Minnesota.

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