Diane Sawyer

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Diane Sawyer
Television journalist
Years active1962–present
Known forBroadcast anchor of Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight
(m. 1988; died 2014)

Lila Diane Sawyer (

CBS Morning and was the first woman correspondent on 60 Minutes. Prior to her journalism career, she was a member of U.S. President Richard Nixon's White House
staff and assisted in his post-presidency memoirs. Presently she works for ABC News producing documentaries and interview specials.

Early life

Sawyer was born in Glasgow, Kentucky,[1] to Jean W. (née Dunagan), an elementary school teacher, and Erbon Powers "Tom" Sawyer, a county judge.[2] Her ancestry includes English, Irish, Scots-Irish, and German.[3] She has an older sister, Linda.[4] 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

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.[7] From 1963 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.[7] Sawyer attended Wellesley College, graduating in 1967.[8]


Sawyer at the 2010 Peabody Awards

Immediately after her graduation, Sawyer returned to Kentucky and was employed as a weather forecaster for

Watergate coverup, Sawyer and Larry Speakes were assigned to the staff of Nixon's lawyer J. Fred Buzhardt for a project 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.[10]

Sawyer continued through

Years later, Sawyer would be suspected of being

W. Mark Felt, but prior to that, Rabbi 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.[12][13]

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.[7] 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.[9] 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


In 1989, she moved to

20/20 Wednesday, from 1998 to 2000. Sawyer also co-anchored a Sunday edition of 20/20 with Barbara Walters
from 1998-1999.

On January 18, 1999, Sawyer returned to morning news as the co-anchor of

' 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 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.[14] In 2005, the show was retitled Primetime, and Sawyer left the show at the end of 2006 when its format again changed, with a sub-series focus.

Sawyer achieved worldwide acclaim after subjecting Mel Gibson to an intense television interrogation, after his 2006 DUI arrest.[15] On September 2, 2009, Sawyer was announced as the successor to Charles 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 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.[16] 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.[17] Ratings initially rose 8% after Sawyer's first four weeks, averaging 8.8 million viewers.[18]

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.[19]

On June 25, 2014, it was announced that she would step down from the anchor chair at ABC World News in September 2014. She remained with ABC News to focus on creating specials and conducting high-profile interviews.[20]

Career timeline


Sawyer receiving an Honorary degree from Brown University
in 2012

Personal life

Sawyer was in relationships with Frank Gannon, aide to President Richard Nixon, as well as American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, politician Bill Bradley, and actor Warren Beatty.[32][33][34]

On April 29, 1988, she married film and theatre director, producer, and actor Mike Nichols. Nichols had two daughters and a son from previous marriages. He died on November 19, 2014, at the age of 83.[35]

The "List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women" in Forbes magazine reported that, between June 2005 and June 2008, Sawyer made approximately $12 million,[26] solely from entertainment income.

See also


  1. ^ "Official ABC News biography". ABC News. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  2. ^ "Mother of Diane Sawyer dies at age 94". Courier-Journal. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  3. ^ "Diane Finds She's a True Kentucky Woman". ABC News. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  4. ^ "Mother of Diane Sawyer dies at age 94". www.courier-journal.com. Retrieved February 11, 2022.
  5. ^ "Classmates". Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  6. ^ "Diane Sawyer Yearbook & School Photos - Classmates.com". Classmates. January 11, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Sawyer, Diane. (1985) Current Biography. Retrieved from Biography Reference Bank database.
  8. ^ "Diane Sawyer". Wellesley College. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  9. ^ a b Diane Sawyer. (1994). In Newsmakers. Retrieved from http://ic.galegroup.com Archived March 25, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  10. .
  11. ^ Sherr, Lynn (December 6, 2008). "Diane Sawyer on Fact vs. Fiction in Frost/Nixon — The Good Morning America Host—Who Worked for Richard Nixon at the Time of His Interview with David Frost—Talks with The Daily Beast about Her Memories of Her Ex-Boss.". Blog at The Daily Beast. Accessed December 12, 2009.
  12. The Independent. Archived from the original
    on July 22, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
  13. ^ "Just Who is Deep Throat?". CNN. June 17, 2002. Archived from the original on March 1, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  14. ^ "Listings - TheFutonCritic.com - The Web's Best Television Resource". Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  15. ^ "Mel Gibson Addresses Accusations of Anti-Semitism". ABC News.
  16. ^ a b Stelter, Brian; Carter, Bill (December 1, 2009). "ABC Plans Low-Key Handoff for 'World News'". Blog at The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  17. ^ 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 16, 2009.
  18. ^ Diane Sawyer sees 8 percent boost in ratings as ABC's 'World News' anchor Archived January 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Sherryl Connelly, New York Daily News, January 25, 2010
  19. ^ "Diane Sawyer's Biography". ABC News. May 11, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  20. ^ "Diane Sawyer to Step Down as 'World News' Anchor". ABCNews.com. June 25, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Diane Sawyer's Biography — Anchor, "Good Morning America". ABC News. April 26, 2007. Accessed December 12, 2009.
  22. ^ a b c "Diane Sawyer". IMDb. Accessed December 12, 2009.
  23. American Academy of Achievement
  24. ^ Novotny, Jean (June 27, 1987). "Top guns: Academy salutes world-changers" (PDF). The Arizona Republic.
  25. ^ "Gen. Colin Powell Interview Photo". 1989. On the head table at the American Academy of Achievement's 1989 Banquet of the Golden Plate ceremonies in San Francisco: Awards Council members, eminent broadcast journalist Diane Sawyer and General Colin L. Powell, USA.
  26. ^ a b "Forbes". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on August 13, 2006. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  27. ^ "A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains".
  28. ^ Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award#2013
  29. ^ Arizona State University (January 29, 2009). "Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  30. ^ "Simmons among nine honorary degree recipients". Brown University. May 16, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  31. ^ "Meet the 2019 Disney Legends to be Honored at D23 Expo". May 16, 2019.
  32. People. Archived from the original
    on October 3, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  33. ^ "Diane Sawyer - Family & Companions".
  34. ^ Gellman, Barton; Russakoff, Dale (December 13, 1999). "At Princeton, Bradley Met Impossible Demands". The Washington Post. p. A1.
  35. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. "Inside Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols's Longtime Romance". People. Retrieved August 31, 2020.

External links

Media offices
Preceded by ABC World News anchor
December 21, 2009 – August 27, 2014
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Robin Roberts
(from May 23, 2005 to December 11, 2009)
Succeeded by
Robin Roberts