Home Entertainment Robert MacNeil, Longtime PBS ‘NewsHour’ Anchor, Dies at 93

Robert MacNeil, Longtime PBS ‘NewsHour’ Anchor, Dies at 93


Robert “Robin” MacNeil, co-anchor and co-founder of PBS NewsHour, died April 12, PBS announced. He was 93

MacNeil died Friday morning of natural causes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, his daughter, Alison MacNeil, told the New York Times.

Following their coverage of the 1973 Senate Watergate Hearings, MacNeil co-founded the predecessor to the PBS “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” in 1975 with fellow anchor Jim Lehrer.

“I am so deeply saddened at the loss of a precious friend. One of the greatest honors of my life was working with Robin MacNeil and being part of the way he and Jim Lehrer changed television news,” said Judy Woodruff, PBS NewsHour senior correspondent and former anchor and managing editor, in a statement. “He was brilliant and urbane, but always with a delightful sense of irony. I’m so grateful to have spoken with him in January on his birthday, when that iconic, deep Canadian baritone voice sounded exactly as it had when he last anchored the NewsHour almost 30 years ago.”

“Robin was one of a kind. With his distinctive voice, he brought stories to life — unraveling complex issues with clarity and compassion,” PBS NewsHour co-anchors Geoff Bennett and Amna Nawaz added. “Whether it was through his incisive reporting or his intimate interviews, he possessed a singular ability to connect with people. As we reflect on his many contributions, we honor his memory by continuing to pursue the truth and by fostering connections that bridge divides – just as Robin did with such grace and vigor. We are deeply grateful for the enduring legacy he leaves behind.”

Throughout MacNeil’s career as an award winning journalist, he interviewed hundreds of national and international newsmakers including Martin Luther King Jr., Ayatollah Khomeini and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. MacNeil conducted on-the-ground reporting on some of the biggest stories in the U.S., such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Known as Robin, he was born in Montreal and was hired for CBC radio productions while still in college. He joined NBC News after five years at Reuters in London, covering the Cuban missile crisis and reportedly having a brush with Lee Harvey Oswald while looking for a phone after President Kennedy was shot. He joined PBS in 1971.

MacNeil authored several books, including four novels, after retiring from PBS.

MacNeil is survived by his children Alison and Will MacNeil, Ian MacNeil, Cathy MacNeil and five grandchildren.