Frank McGee

Photo added by Ron Moody

Frank McGee

Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, USA
Death 17 Apr 1974 (aged 52)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Woodville, Rappahannock County, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 6802879 · View Source
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Journalist. One of television's most prominent newsmen, he is best remembered in the middle and late 1960s for hosting the NBC television newscast "The Frank McGee Report" during the 1960s, seen early Saturday and Sunday evenings. The half-hour program generally gave more attention to one or more topics than a regular newscast, sometimes employing a full documentary format. Born in Monroe, Louisiana his family moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where he was raised. He began his broadcast news career at WKY-TV (now KFOR-TV) in his hometown. In 1955 the owners of WKY purchased WSFA-TV, an affiliate of NBC, in Montgomery, Alabama, and sent him there as news director. As the civil rights movement gained national coverage, his work came to the notice of NBC, and he was offered a position with the network. He worked as a floor correspondent for the national conventions of both political parties in 1960, 1964, and 1968, one member of the so-called "Four Horsemen" that included NBC newsmen John Chancellor, Edwin Newman, and Sander Vanocur. In 1960 he hosted the second debate between presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. At that time the debates were considered by the news media to have swung the election in favor of Kennedy among voters who watched them on television. For those who listened on radio, the influence was mixed. He possessed a great talent for descriptive language, often giving viewers a vivid word picture of the day's events. When NBC News's Chet Huntley broke the news of assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, he appeared in the studio and for the first hour he repeated everything that was provided to him over the phone by NBC correspondent Robert MacNeil who was on location in Dallas, Texas. He remained on duty for 45 hours with little rest, reporting without a script. He was also on the air on June 6, 1968 when word came that Senator Robert F. Kennedy, the late president's brother, had been shot following his victory in the California Democratic primary, and he calmly anchored the network's breaking news coverage. In the early 1960s he also served as a news reporter and host on the NBC Radio weekend show "Monitor." During his time on "Monitor" he interviewed Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and for asking him how he felt about being targeted for assassination and King response was that he had given serious thought to the possibility. He was also a featured anchor during NBC's coverage of the early US manned space program. In 1967 he lived with members of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam for almost a month to report a well-received documentary, "Same Mud, Same Blood," about black soldiers in Vietnam. In 1969 NBC began a traditional Saturday evening newscast, and in 1970, a Sunday version, both of which replaced "The Frank McGee Report," with him often anchoring those weekend newscasts. For several months in 1970, he also anchored New York City's WNBC-TV local 6 PM newscast. In 1970, after Huntley's retirement ended the "Huntley-Brinkley Report," he became one of a platoon of three anchors on the newly renamed "NBC Nightly News," along with Chancellor and David Brinkley. The following year NBC settled on Chancellor as permanent anchor and he moved to "The Today Show," replacing Hugh Downs who had hosted the program since 1962. He transitioned it into a more serious news presentation, insisting on opening and closing the show by himself while sharing other duties with co-host Barbara Walters. He also insisted that he, and not Walters, ask guests the first three questions if both of them were doing an interview. He made his last appearance on "The Today Show" days prior to his death in New York City, New York due to complications from bone cancer at the age of 52. In 1965 he was the recipient of the Peabody Award for his personal contribution to television news.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 26 Sep 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6802879
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Frank McGee (12 Sep 1921–17 Apr 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6802879, citing Saint Paul's Episcopal Churchyard, Woodville, Rappahannock County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .