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Frank Reynolds


Frank Reynolds

Frank Reynolds
Reynolds in 1968
Born Frank James Reynolds
(1923-11-29)November 29, 1923
East Chicago, Indiana, U.S.
Died July 20, 1983(1983-07-20) (aged 59)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Education Bishop Noll Institute
Wabash College
Occupation Television journalist
Years active 1949–1983
Notable credit(s) ABC World News Tonight
Religion Roman Catholicism
Spouse(s) Henrietta Mary Harpster
Children James Reynolds
John Reynolds
Robert Reynolds
Thomas Reynolds
Dean Reynolds

Frank James Reynolds (November 29, 1923 – July 20, 1983) was an American television journalist for ABC and CBS News.

He was a New York-based anchor of the ABC Evening News from 1968 to 1970 and later was the Washington D.C.-based co-anchor of World News Tonight from 1978 until his death in 1983. During the Iran hostage crisis, he began the 30-minute late-night program America Held Hostage, which later was renamed Nightline.


  • Background 1
  • Early career 2
  • Anchor, ABC News 3
    • Reagan Assassination Attempt Coverage Episode, 1981 3.1
  • Legacy 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Reynolds was born on November 29, 1923, in East Chicago, Indiana. Reynolds attended Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond, Indiana, and then attended Wabash College, from which he graduated in 1946. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Reynolds served in the United States Army during the Second World War; he was a Staff Sergeant and was awarded the Purple Heart.

Early career

After the war, Reynolds began his broadcast career with WWCA-AM in Gary, Indiana. Reynolds was a television anchor in Chicago, first on the original WBKB in 1949, which in 1953 would become WBBM-TV, the CBS owned-and-operated station; he also served as Chicago correspondent for CBS News. In 1963 he moved to the second WBKB, an ABC owned-and-operated station (now known as WLS-TV) and served as their main news anchor. Reynolds joined ABC News in 1965 as a correspondent.[1]

Anchor, ABC News

By 1968, he became co-anchor of the ABC evening newscast with Howard K. Smith, who remained as co-anchor after Harry Reasoner was hired from CBS to replace Reynolds in December 1970. After the demotion, Reynolds returned to the field as a correspondent for the network. After Reasoner and Barbara Walters ceased their anchor duties in 1978, Reynolds returned to the anchor chair as the Washington, D.C., anchor for the now-revamped World News Tonight newscast, with co-anchors Max Robinson and Peter Jennings, who became the show's sole anchor after Reynolds' death. All three original anchors of World News Tonight are now deceased (Robinson died of AIDS in 1988; Jennings of lung cancer in 2005).

Reynolds was also the original anchor of "America Held Hostage", a series of special reports seen weeknights at 11:30 p.m./10:30 Central on the Iran hostage crisis in November 1979 that evolved into the newsmagazine Nightline in 1980. Shortly after the special reports began, Reynolds was replaced by Ted Koppel.

Reagan Assassination Attempt Coverage Episode, 1981

One famous moment in Reynolds' career occurred on March 30, 1981, during live news coverage of the assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Early reports received by his newsroom had indicated that James Brady and others had been shot, but that Reagan himself was uninjured. He became upset when a report arrived indicating that Reagan had been struck and at one point can be heard shouting at an individual off-screen to "speak up" as more information arrived.[2]

Later, White House Press Secretary James Brady, a close friend of Reynolds, was erroneously reported by all three networks as having died from the head wound he suffered in the incident. Upon learning that the information regarding Brady was incorrect, Reynolds suddenly appeared noticeably upset and, looking around at staffers in the background, angrily burst out:

"Let's get it nailed down...somebody...let's find out! Let's get it straight so we can report this thing accurately!"


Reynolds is the father of CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds. Coincidentally, it was a report from the younger Reynolds while he was a correspondent for UPI which first revealed that James Brady was still alive, leading to the aforementioned outburst from the elder Reynolds.[3]

Reynolds' last broadcast was April 20 and despite promises of his return by substitute anchormen, he never did, dying from hepatitis-induced liver failure on July 20, 1983, at the age of 59. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma while he was being treated for acute hepatitis in the spring of 1978, just as he was beginning as chief anchorman for World News Tonight.

Reynolds, who served in the United States Army, is interred in Arlington National Cemetery. On May 23, 1985, he was presented, posthumously, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan. Reagan and wife Nancy attended the funeral.

A few years after Reynolds' death, musician Paul Hardcastle recorded a section of an ABC documentary about the Vietnam War, that included narration by Reynolds, and later used it as part of his 1985 U.S. Top 40 and U.K. #1 (5 weeks) hit, 19. Hardcastle had a video made of the song that included footage from that documentary that ABC later demanded be removed. The ABC footage was later replaced with stock footage, but Reynolds' voice remained on the recording.


  1. ^ [3]
  2. ^ "First ABC News Bulletin - President Reagan assassination attempt shooting - Frank Reynolds". YouTube. 30 March 1981. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  3. ^ [4]

External links

Preceded by
America Held Hostage (Nightline) anchor
Succeeded by
Ted Koppel
Media offices
Preceded by
Bob Young
ABC Evening News
May 27, 1968 - December 4, 1970
with Howard K. Smith May 19, 1969–December 4, 1970
Succeeded by
Howard K. Smith and Harry Reasoner
Preceded by
Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters
ABC World News Tonight Anchor
July 10, 1978–April 20, 1983
with Max Robinson and Peter Jennings
Succeeded by
Peter Jennings
Preceded by
Bill Lawrence
ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Succeeded by
Bill Gill
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