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Sam Donaldson

Sam Donaldson

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Also Known As: Samuel Andrew Donaldson Jr. Died:
Born: March 11, 1934 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: El Paso, Texas, USA Profession: news anchor, news reporter, author

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Sometimes considered emotionless, lacking warmth or even acidic in his delivery, Sam Donaldson was a no-nonsense news reporter and anchor who did his homework in an age when pretty boys seemed to be taking over the anchor chairs and substance was often forgotten. Donaldson broke into broadcasting soon after his discharge from the US Army in 1959 and within a year had gone from being a general announcer at a station in Dallas to first a general reporter then anchor at WTOP in Washington, DC. He remained at WTOP for six years before ABC lured him away, naming him as a general reporter and later the Capitol Hill correspondent (1968-77). Donaldson moved to covering The White House until the end of the Reagan administration in 1989. At the same time, he departed from his decade-long stint anchoring the ABC Weekend News and became co-anchor (with Diane Sawyer) of "PrimeTime Live" (1989- ). He also was a regular interviewer and commentator on Sunday morning's "This Week With David Brinkley." Through his decades with ABC, Donaldson has covered several political conventions and campaigns and his 1975 primetime special, "ABC News Close-up on Washington Regulators: How They Cost You Money" was ground-breaking...

Sometimes considered emotionless, lacking warmth or even acidic in his delivery, Sam Donaldson was a no-nonsense news reporter and anchor who did his homework in an age when pretty boys seemed to be taking over the anchor chairs and substance was often forgotten.

Donaldson broke into broadcasting soon after his discharge from the US Army in 1959 and within a year had gone from being a general announcer at a station in Dallas to first a general reporter then anchor at WTOP in Washington, DC. He remained at WTOP for six years before ABC lured him away, naming him as a general reporter and later the Capitol Hill correspondent (1968-77). Donaldson moved to covering The White House until the end of the Reagan administration in 1989. At the same time, he departed from his decade-long stint anchoring the ABC Weekend News and became co-anchor (with Diane Sawyer) of "PrimeTime Live" (1989- ). He also was a regular interviewer and commentator on Sunday morning's "This Week With David Brinkley."

Through his decades with ABC, Donaldson has covered several political conventions and campaigns and his 1975 primetime special, "ABC News Close-up on Washington Regulators: How They Cost You Money" was ground-breaking in its time. Donaldson was the first US network TV reporter to provide live coverage from Saudi Arabia after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and coverage from Panama after the US invasion in 1989. For "PrimeTime Live," Donaldson has tracked down Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke and, along with Sawyer, did an unprecedented broadcast from inside the Kremlin in 1989. But he is perhaps best known for his coverage of the Washington political scene and climate. His experience in that realm dates back to 1964 when he followed the presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Fuck (2005)
5.
9.
 ABC 2000: The Vote (2000) Correspondent
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1956:
Served in U.S. Army; rose to rank of captain
1959:
Worked as mutual fund salesperson
1959:
Broke into broadcasting as a general announcer at KRLD-TV in Dallas, TX
1961:
Was TV news reporter, WTOP-TV in Washington, DC; became news anchor
1967:
Joined ABC News as Washington news reporter
1973:
Served as ABC's chief Watergate correspondent
1976:
Was White House correspondent for ABC News during Carter and Reagan administrations
1979:
Anchored ABC Sunday evening news
1981:
Regularly contributed to "This Week With David Brinkley" (ABC)
1989:
Co-hosted ABC's "Primetime Live" with Diane Sawyer
1996:
Named as co-host with Cokie Roberts of "This Week" (ABC); show eventually renamed "This Week With Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts"; Robert announced departure fall 2002
1998:
Re-assigned to duties as White House correspondent
1999:
Underwent throat surgery to remove a benign polyp
1999:
Stepped down as ABC News' White House correspondent (announcement made August 31)
1999:
Announced signing of multiyear contract with ABC News, which called for him to serve as substitute anchor of "20/20" and to launch an Internet-only news program to run three times per week on ABCNews.com
2001:
Appeared in documentary " Ronald Reagan: The Hollywood Years, the Presidential Years"
2009:
Retired from full-time work with ABC News
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Education

University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California -
University of Texas: El Paso , Texas - 1955

Notes

Named best TV White House correspondent by the Washington Journalism Review in 1985.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Patricia Oates. Married in 1954; divorced.
wife:
Kay Butler. Married in 1963; divorced in 1980.
wife:
Janice Claire Smith. Freelance TV journalist. Married in 1983.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Samuel Andrew Donaldson Sr. Farmer.
mother:
Chloe Donaldson. Teacher.
son:
Samuel Donaldson III. Mother, Patricia Oates.
daughter:
Jennifer Donaldson. TV news producer. Mother, Kay Butler.
son:
Thomas Donaldson. Mother, Kay Butler.
son:
Robert Donaldson. Mother, Kay Butler.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"Hold On, Mr. President" Random House

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