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Frank_Reynolds

Frank Reynolds

Frank Reynolds (November 29, 1923, East Chicago, Indiana – July 20, 1983) was a well known American television journalist for ABC.

He is best remembered as anchor of the ABC Evening News from 1968 to 1970 and later as Washington D.C.-based co-anchor of World News Tonight from 1978 to 1983. During the Iran hostage crisis, he began the 30-minute late night program America Held Hostage, which later was renamed Nightline.

Background

Reynolds was a television anchor in Chicago, first on WBBM-TV, the CBS Network affiliate, and later on WBKB-TV, the ABC Network affiliate (later redesignated as WLS-TV). He joined ABC in 1965.

Anchor, ABC News

By 1968, he became co-anchor of the evening ABC newscast with Howard K. Smith, who remained as co-anchor after Harry Reasoner was hired from CBS to replace Reynolds in 1970. Afterwards, 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.

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 supposedly infamous moment in Frank Reynolds' career occurred on March 30, 1981 during live news coverage of the assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan. White House Press Secretary James Brady, a close friend of Reynolds, had been erroneously reported by all three networks as having died from the head wound he suffered in the incident, and, further, they reported that Reagan had not been struck at all. Upon learning that the information 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!"

The network quickly moved to a break and upon return, Ted Koppel was seated next to Reynolds to share anchor duties and, perhaps, be a calming influence on his clearly agitated co-worker. It was one of the few times in television history that viewers witnessed an otherwise professional veteran anchor become angry on air. Reynolds nonetheless emerged from the incident with his reputation unscathed.

Legacy

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.

Reynolds died from bone cancer at the age of 59, which was discovered while he was being treated for acute hepatitis in the spring of 1983. Exactly three months before his death, he presented World News Tonight as chief anchor for the last time.

Reynolds, who served in the United States Army, is interred in Arlington National Cemetery. He was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

A few years after Reynolds's passing, 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 removed. The ABC footage was later replaced with stock footage, but Reynolds' voice remained on the recording.

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