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  McGee, Frank
CANDIDATE DETAILS
AffiliationNonpartisan  
<-  1970-01-10  
 
NameFrank McGee
Address
, , United States
EmailNone
WebsiteNone
Born September 12, 1915
DiedApril 17, 1974 (58 years)
ContributorThomas Walker
Last ModifedChronicler
Apr 13, 2019 07:17pm
Tags
InfoTelevision newsman Frank McGee's tenure in Alabama was short, but his work was so extraordinary it propelled him from a local affiliate in Montgomery to NBC's news desk in Washington.

Born in Louisiana and raised in Oklahoma, McGee joined the army in 1940 before graduating from high school. After World War II, he worked as a furniture restorer, wheat combine operator, government clerk, and theater manager as he attended college at Berkeley and the University of Oklahoma. In Norman, Oklahoma, he began working for a radio station and then became a television newscaster. In 1955 he joined WSFA-TV in Montgomery as news director. One year later his coverage of the Ku Klux Klan brought him to the attention of NBC executives.

In his seventeen years at NBC, McGee covered the great stories of his time, anchored the evening news, and hosted the Today show. He was praised for his coverage of presidential conventions and elections, the battle over integration, and the Vietnam War. He moderated the second Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate in 1960. While reporting the assassination of President Kennedy, he remained at his anchor desk for twelve hours straight. The New York Times wrote that McGee possessed an "uncanny knack for flawless delivery under any circumstances."

McGee's specialty was the quickly produced but thoroughly researched news special that preempted prime time programs. Such groundbreaking "spontaneous" specials were usually scripted and always hosted by McGee. These programs reported on the Paris summit of Eisenhower and Khruschev; the Kennedy Administration; the space program; American military preparedness; and crises in Africa and Laos. His three-hour documentary about civil rights, "The American Revolution of '63," received a Peabody Award.

"Behind Frank McGee's soft-spoken, almost courtly manner, one sensed a character of integrity and iron," said Walter Cronkite.



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