Robert MacNeil dead at 93: The renowned news anchor has passed away

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

News anchor Robert MacNeil, who founded ‘PBS NewsHour’ has died at the age of 93

Renowned news anchor Robert MacNeil has died at the age of 93. He founded ‘PBS NewsHour’ and had a two-decade partnership with the late Jim Lehrer, his co-anchor on public television. Robert MacNeil passed away in a hospital in Manhattan, New York, and the news was confirmed by his daughter, Alison MacNeil. 

At the beginning of his career, Robert MacNeil worked for NBC News in the USA and on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, he was a reporter for the network in Dallas. In 1971, he joined PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service. According to The New York Times, Robert MacNeil “brought with him a news sensibility honed at the BBC, where he had worked in the interim, and became a key figure in shaping U.S. public television’s in-depth and even handed approach to news coverage.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was in 1973 that he began working with Jim Lehrer and the pair worked together for two-decades. They started off covering the Senate Watergate hearings for PBS and won an Emmy Award for their broadcasts. 

After working together in the 1970s, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer’s programme was renamed ‘The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour’ in 1983, and it won many broadcast awards. The Washing Post described Robert MacNeil as someone who “had a distinctive and reassuring baritone, with a cultivated accent that complemented Lehrer’s folksier delivery. He saw himself as a writer trapped in a broadcaster’s body — he and Lehrer were both novelists in addition to newscasters — and said that he turned to journalism in financial desperation while struggling to make a living as a playwright in London.”

Robert MacNeil, whose full name was Robert Breckenridge Ware MacNeil was born on January 19, 1931, in Montreal and grew up in Nova Scotia. Whilst his father commanded convoy escort ships during World War 11 as he was in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Robert was brought up by his mother alongside his two brothers. 

Robert MacNeil was divorced twice, his marriages to Rosemarie Copland and Jane Doherty both ended, and then he wed Donna Nappi Richards in 1984, she predeceased him in 2015. Robert MacNeil is survived by children Cathy and Ian MacNeil (from his first marriage) and children Alison and William MacNeil (from his second marriage). He also had a brother and five grandchildren. 

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.