×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Former ‘Today’ News Anchor Lew Wood Dies

Journo covered MLK, JFK assassinations

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lew Wood, who marched with Martin Luther King, covered John F. Kennedy’s assassination and was a news anchor for NBC’s “Today” show during a distinguished broadcast career that began with the dawn of television, has died at age 84.

Wood, who had been in declining health, died of kidney failure Wednesday at a hospice in Riverside County, his daughter Brigitte Wood told The Associated Press.

He was perhaps best known as “Today’s” third news anchor, succeeding Frank Blair in 1975. Although Blair had held the job for 22 years, Wood left after just a year, going into public relations. He stayed in that field until retiring in 2006.

“He always joked that when he left the ‘Today’ show, it was due to illness and fatigue. They were sick and tired of him,” his daughter said with a laugh Thursday.

With the show’s producers deciding to take the program’s news report in a different direction, Wood moved on to public relations, training corporate executives how to present themselves to the media and working for the American Legion and other organizations.

Before taking the “Today” show job, he had anchored the news for WNBC in New York and worked as a correspondent for CBS.

For the latter network he reported on the 1960s Civil Rights movement, accompanying King on one of his marches. He was also in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, as part of the CBS team covering Kennedy’s campaign swing through Texas.

Wood had covered a breakfast speech Kennedy made in nearby Fort Worth, and snapped a personal photo of the president greeting well-wishers before Kennedy left for the Dallas motorcade where he would be fatally shot. After his departure, Wood headed to a restaurant for lunch, stopping briefly to check in with fellow correspondent Dan Rather, who was covering the motorcade.

In a remembrance posted on the website reportersnotebook.net, he recalled Rather telling him, “Hold On Lew — don’t go away,” then quickly coming back on the line to say the president had been shot and he should go to the hospital.

“Which he did,” said Rather, who spoke warmly of Wood on Thursday, remembering him as both a fine reporter and collegial colleague.

“He was a workhorse, very steady and reliable, excellent reporter and had good on-camera presence,” Rather told the AP.

Wood, who earned a degree in speech and broadcasting from Purdue University, began his career in radio at WDZ-AM in Decatur, Ill., in 1952. He transitioned to TV a year later, joining WSBT Radio and TV in South Bend, Ind., where he worked as both reporter and cameraman and anchored the evening news.

In addition to his daughter, Wood is survived by his wife, Monique; son Robert; two other daughters, Carole Gorenflo and Lara Wood; 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service is scheduled Aug. 31 at St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Temecula.

More TV

  • Jeremy Sisto, Ebonee Noel, Dick Wolf,

    Dick Wolf Plots 'First-Ever' Cross-Network Crossover

    Veteran television producer Dick Wolf, best known for creating the “Law & Order” franchise, is eyeing what he believes will be the first-ever cross-network crossover. The crossover would be between his CBS freshman procedural “FBI” or its in-the-works spinoff “FBI: Most Wanted” and one of his NBC shows, such as “Law & Order: Special Victims [...]

  • Prince Albert II of Monaco (C),

    Jessica Alba, Gabrielle Union's 'L.A.’s Finest' Opens Monte Carlo TV Festival

    Prince Albert II of Monaco opened the 59th Monte Carlo Television Festival on Friday at a glittering ceremony at the principality’s Grimaldi Forum attended by Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba. The Hollywood actresses presented the French premiere of their action cop series “L.A.’s Finest,” which has just been renewed for a second season. “You typically [...]

  • Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba'L.A.'s Finest'

    Jessica Alba, Gabrielle Union Speak About Horrific 'L.A.’s Finest' On-Set Accident

    Actresses Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba spoke about how the horrific accident on the set of their action cop series “L.A.’s Finest” affected them and the crew at the 59th Monte Carlo Television Festival Saturday. They also paid tribute to the main victim of the incident, executive producer/co-showrunner Brandon Sonnier, whose leg was amputated below [...]

  • Emmys: How a Social Media Campaign

    How a Social Media Campaign to Game the Emmys Led to This Week's 'Block Voting' Scandal

    The Television Academy’s “block voting” controversy has quickly become the talk of Emmy season — and that appears to have been the org’s point. According to multiple insiders, the number of people disqualified from voting in this year’s competition is believed to be small, only around three members (out of nearly 25,000 members overall). But [...]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    TV News Roundup: Hulu Drops Trailer for 'Veronica Mars' Revival (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, Hulu dropped the official trailer for the “Veronica Mars” revival and HBO revealed more cast members for “Lovecraft Country.” FIRST LOOKS Hulu has dropped the official trailer for its revival of “Veronica Mars,” set to premiere on July 26. The series will bring back most of the original cast, including Kristen Bell, Jason [...]

  • Dan Stevens

    'Legion' Star Dan Stevens Says His Character Would Fight Thanos, 'Wreak Havoc' in MCU

    Dan Stevens said his powerful, telepathic mutant Legion would do some serious damage if he ever crossed over from the eponymous FX series into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Legion would wreak havoc. He’d probably take on Thanos, let’s see that,” he told Variety on the red carpet at the premiere of the trippy, mind-bending superhero series [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content