LILA DIANE SAWYER (born December 22, 1945) is an American television
Previously, Sawyer has been the anchor of
ABC News 's nightly
flagship program ABC World News , a co-anchor of ABC News's morning
Good Morning America
Good Morning America and Primetime newsmagazine . Early
in her career, she was a member of U.S. President
Richard Nixon 's
White House staff and closely associated with the president himself.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Career
* 2.1 Career timeline
* 2.2 Recognition
* 3 Personal life
* 4 References
* 5 External links
Sawyer was born in
Glasgow, Kentucky , to Jean W. (née Dunagan), an
elementary school teacher, and Erbon Powers "Tom" Sawyer, a judge.
Her ancestry includes English, Irish, Scots-Irish, and German. Soon
after her birth, her family moved to Louisville , where her father
rose to local prominence as a Republican politician and community
leader. He was Kentucky's
Jefferson County Judge/Executive when he was
killed in a car accident on Louisville's
Interstate 64 in 1969. E. P.
"Tom" Sawyer State Park , in the Frey\'s Hill area of Louisville, is
named in his honor.
Sawyer attended Seneca High School in the Buechel area of Louisville.
She served as an editor-in-chief for her school newspaper, The Arrow,
and participated in many artistic activities. She always felt,
however, that she was in the shadow of her older sister, Linda.
Insecure and something of a loner as a teen, Diane found happiness,
she later said, going off by herself or with a group of friends that
called themselves "reincarnated transcendentalist" and read Emerson
and Thoreau down by a creek. In her senior year of high school, in
1963, she won first place in the annual national America\'s Junior
Miss scholarship pageant as a representative from the Commonwealth of
Kentucky. She won by her strength of poise in the final interview and
her essay comparing the music of the North and the South during the
Civil War. From 1962 to 1965, Sawyer was America's Junior Miss,
touring the country to promote the Coca-Cola Pavilion at the
1964–1965 New York World's Fair. At first, she thought that
travelling around the country as
America's Junior Miss would be a
terrifying experience, but it taught her to think on her feet and do
so with poise and grace.
In 1967, she received a
Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in
Wellesley College in Wellesley ,
Massachusetts . She was
a member of the
Wellesley College Blue Notes, an a cappella -singing
group, and Phi Sigma Lecture Society. She attended one semester of law
school at the
University of Louisville before turning to journalism.
Immediately after her graduation, Sawyer returned to Kentucky and was
employed as weather forecaster for
WLKY-TV in Louisville. In Sawyer's
opinion, the weather was boring, so she would occasionally add quotes
to keep it interesting. Finally, Sawyer was promoted to a
general-assignment post, but this did not sustain her interest for
long. In 1970, Sawyer moved to
Washington, D.C. , and, unable to find
work as a broadcast journalist , she interviewed for positions in
government offices. She eventually became an assistant to Jerry
White House deputy press secretary . Initially, Sawyer
wrote press releases and quickly graduated to other tasks like
drafting some of President
Richard Nixon 's public statements. Within
a few months, she became an administrative assistant to White House
Press Secretary Ron Ziegler and eventually rose to become a staff
assistant for U.S. President Richard Nixon. In 1973 when John Dean
testified to the Senate
Watergate Committee concerning Nixon's
involvement in the
Watergate coverup, Sawyer and
Larry Speakes were
assigned to the staff of Nixon's lawyer
J. Fred Buzhardt in an effort
to "prove" that Dean was lying. Speakes later claimed that he had come
to the conclusion that Dean had not lied, and that he informed Sawyer,
but they continued their efforts.
Sawyer continued through Nixon\'s resignation from the presidency in
1974 and worked on the Nixon-Ford transition team in 1974–1975,
after which she decamped with Nixon to California and helped him write
RN: The Memoirs of
Richard Nixon , published in 1978. She also helped
prepare Nixon for his famous set of television interviews with
David Frost in 1977.
Years later, Sawyer would be suspected of being Deep Throat , the
source of leaks of classified information to journalist Bob Woodward
Watergate scandal . In 2005, Deep Throat was identified as
W. Mark Felt , but prior to that,
Baruch Korff – a longtime
Nixon confidant and defender known as "Nixon's rabbi" – said on his
deathbed that he believed Sawyer was Deep Throat. Sawyer laughed it
off and became one of six people to request and receive a public
denial from Woodward.
When Sawyer came back to Washington, D.C., in 1978, she joined CBS
News as a general-assignment reporter. She was promoted to political
correspondent in February 1980 and featured on the weekday broadcasts
of Morning with Charles Kuralt . When CBS expanded its morning news
show from 60 to 90 minutes, Sawyer was announced as co-anchor on May
13, 1981, by the president of
CBS News . With her debut on September
28, 1981, she put her own stamp on the broadcast. The ratings for the
show were boosted upon Sawyer's arrival, but the improvement did not
last, and, after Kuralt left the show, he was replaced by Bill Kurtis.
The ratings decreased further, and Sawyer asked to be reassigned in
1984. From 1982 to 1984, Sawyer was also seen with Kurtis on the CBS
Early Morning News airing an hour earlier on most CBS affiliates.
In 1984, she became the first female correspondent on
60 Minutes , a
CBS News investigative-television newsmagazine . During Sawyer's five
years with 60 Minutes, the program regularly ranked among the top-five
most-watched in the country.
In 1989, she moved to
ABC News to co-anchor Primetime Live
Sam Donaldson . From 1998 to 2000, she co-anchored
ABC's 20/20 , also a newsmagazine, broadcast on Wednesdays with
Donaldson and on Sundays with
Barbara Walters .
On January 18, 1999, Sawyer returned to morning news as the co-anchor
Good Morning America
Good Morning America with
Charles Gibson . The assignment was
putatively temporary, but her success in the position, measured by a
close in the gap with front-runner Today ,
NBC News ' morning program,
sustained her in the position for nearly eleven years.
In 2000, Sawyer returned as co-anchor of Primetime newsmagazine now
called Primetime Thursday, with Gibson replacing Donaldson. Sawyer was
the first to announce to the
Good Morning America
Good Morning America viewers that the
first plane crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
In 2004, when the show's title was changed to its original name,
Primetime Live, a new executive producer was hired, and the
newsmagazine format was changed to investigative reporting with Sawyer
rotating as the co-anchor with
Chris Cuomo ,
Cynthia McFadden , and
John Quiñones . In 2005, the show was retitled Primetime, and Sawyer
left the show at the end of 2006 when its format again changed, with a
On September 2, 2009, Sawyer was announced as the successor to
Gibson, who retired as the anchor of ABC World News, on Friday,
December 18, 2009. Sawyer left GMA on December 11, 2009, and was
scheduled to become the ABC World
News anchor in January 2010.
However, on December 1, 2009,
The New York Times
The New York Times reported that,
instead of moving to ABC World News in January 2010, Sawyer would
start on December 21, 2009, three days after Gibson's departure. For
over a year (2010–2011), with
Katie Couric as then anchor of CBS
Evening News , two of the three network news anchors on broadcast
television were women. Ratings initially rose 8% after Sawyer's first
four weeks, averaging 8.8 million viewers.
She signed off at the end of her nightly broadcast with "I'll see you
right back here tomorrow night." The show, like the competing evening
newscasts, ended the year with ratings 14% below that of the preceding
year. Until 2014 she was the anchor of ABC's flagship broadcast World
News and the network's principal anchor for breaking-news coverage,
election coverage, and special events.
On June 25, 2014, it was announced that she would step down from the
anchor chair at ABC World News in September 2014. She will remain with
ABC News and will focus on creating specials and conducting
WLKY-TV news and weather reporter and teacher in
Louisville, Kentucky .
White House press aide
* 1974–1978: Literary assistant to President
* 1978–1981: CBS reporter and correspondent
* 1981–1984: Morning with Charles Kuralt/The CBS Morning News
* 1982–1984: CBS Early Morning News co-anchor
60 Minutes correspondent
* 1989–1998, since 2000:
Primetime Live co-anchor
* 1998–2000: 20/20 co-anchor
* January 18, 1999 – December 11, 2009: Good Morning America
* 2000–2006: Primetime Thursday/Primetime Live/Primetime co-anchor
* December 21, 2009 – August 27, 2014: ABC World
* 1997, inducted into the
Television Hall of Fame .
* 2000, Daytime
Emmy Award for excellence in morning programming.
* 2001, named one of the thirty most-powerful women in America by
the Ladies\' Home Journal .
* Frequently since 2004, selected for the annual
List of The World\'s 100 Most Powerful Women reported that, between
June 2005 and June 2008, she made approximately $12 million, solely
from entertainment income.
Emmy Award for outstanding news and documentary program
achievement - programs and segments
* 2009, received a
Peabody Award for her work on "A Hidden America:
Children of the Mountains."
* 2007, granted a
Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for "A Call to
Action: Saving Our Children" segment on ABC News.
* 2010, won the
Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism .
* 2012, received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Brown
Sawyer was in relationships with Frank Gannon, aide to President
Richard Nixon , as well as American diplomat
Richard Holbrooke .
On April 29, 1988, she married film and theatre director, producer,
Mike Nichols . They had no children. Nichols had two
daughters and a son from previous marriages. He died on November 19,
2014, at the age of 83.
The "List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women" in
reported that, between June 2005 and June 2008, Sawyer made
approximately $12 million, solely from entertainment income.
* ^ "
Diane Sawyer Biography (1955?-)". filmreference.com. Retrieved
September 17, 2009.
* ^ "Diane Finds She\'s a True Kentucky Woman - ABC News".
Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
* ^ A B C Sawyer, Diane. (1985) Current Biography. Retrieved from
Biography Reference Bank database.
* ^ A B C Diane Sawyer. (1994). In Newsmakers. Retrieved from
* ^ Kutlar, Stanley I. (1990). The Wars of Watergate: The Last
Crisis of Richard Nixon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 361. ISBN
* ^ Sherr, Lynn (December 6, 2008). "
Diane Sawyer on Fact vs.
Fiction in Frost/Nixon — The
Good Morning America
Good Morning America Host—Who Worked
Richard Nixon at the Time of His Interview with David
The Daily Beast about Her Memories of Her
The Daily Beast . Accessed December 12, 2009.
* ^ Carlin, John (June 28, 1995). "Dying
Watergate\'s \'Deep Throat\'".
FindArticles . The Independent .
Retrieved January 10, 2009.
Staff writer (June 17, 2002). "Just Who is Deep Throat?".
Archived from the original on March 1, 2010. Retrieved December 12,
* ^ "Listings - TheFutonCritic.com - The Web\'s Best Television
Resource". Retrieved October 13, 2014.
* ^ A B Stelter, Brian; Carter, Bill (December 1, 2009). "ABC Plans
Low-Key Handoff for \'World News\'".
The New York Times
The New York Times .
Retrieved December 12, 2009.
* ^ Bauder, David (September 2, 2009). "Sawyer to Take Over as
Anchor of ABC Evening News". The
Associated Press via
Yahoo! News .
Archived from the original on September 9, 2009. Retrieved September
Diane Sawyer sees 8 percent boost in ratings as ABC\'s \'World
News\' anchor, Sherryl Connelly, New York Daily News, January 25, 2010
* ^ "Diane Sawyer\'s Biography".
ABC News . May 11, 2015. Retrieved
October 17, 2016.
* ^ "
Diane Sawyer to Step Down as \'World News\' Anchor".
ABCNews.com. June 25, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
* ^ A B
Staff writer (April 26, 2007). "Diane Sawyer\'s Biography
— Anchor, "Good Morning America". "
ABC News ." Accessed December 12,
* ^ A B C
Staff writer (undated). "Diane Sawyer". Internet Movie
Database . Accessed December 12, 2009.
* ^ A B "Forbes". Forbes.com. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
* ^ "A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains".
Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award#2013
* ^ Arizona State University. "Walter Cronkite School of Journalism
and Mass Communication". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
* ^ "Simmons among nine honorary degree recipients". Brown
University. May 16, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
* ^ Howard, Margo (November 5, 1984). "60 Minutes\' Newest
Diane Sawyer — It Doesn\'t Take America\'s No. 1
Ex-Weathergirl to Know That the Wind Is Blowing Onward and Upward for
60 Minutes\' Newest Correspondent". People . Retrieved December 12,
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