Howard Kingsbury Smith (May 12, 1914 – February 15, 2002) was an American journalist, radio reporter, television anchorman, political commentator, and film actor. He was one of the original members of the team of war correspondents known as the Murrow Boys.
Howard K. Smith
Smith in 1972
Howard Kingsbury Smith
May 12, 1914
|Died||February 15, 2002 (aged 87)|
|Spouse(s)||Benedicte Traberg Smith (1942–2002, his death)|
|Children||Jack P. Smith (1945–2004)|
Catherine H. Smith (born 1953)
|Parent(s)||Howard K. Smith and Minnie Gates Smith|
Smith was born in Ferriday in Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana near Natchez, Mississippi, to Howard K. Smith, a nightwatchman descended from a poor "gentleman-farming" family of Lettsworth, Pointe Coupee Parish (north of Baton Rouge), and the former Minnie Gates, the daughter of a Cajun riverboat pilot.
Smith worked his way through Tulane University in New Orleans, studying German and journalism. After his graduation in 1936, with both Bachelor of Arts degrees, he signed on as a deckhand with a ship bound for Germany, where he briefly studied at Heidelberg University. In 1936, he spent a year as a reporter in New Orleans before securing a Rhodes Scholarship to Merton College, Oxford, from which he graduated in 1939. Smith became active in student politics, mostly protesting Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's seemingly soft attitude toward Nazism. While at Oxford, he was the first American to chair the Oxford University Labour Club.
Upon graduating, Smith worked for the New Orleans Item, with United Press in London, and with The New York Times. In January 1940, Smith was sent to Berlin, where he joined the Columbia Broadcasting System under Edward R. Murrow. He visited Hitler's mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden and interviewed many leading Nazis, including Hitler himself, Schutzstaffel or "SS" leader Heinrich Himmler and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. When Smith refused to include Nazi propaganda in his reports, the Gestapo seized his notebooks and expelled him from the country. He left for Switzerland on December 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
He was one of the last American reporters to leave Berlin before Germany and the United States went to war. His 1942 book, Last Train from Berlin: An Eye-Witness Account of Germany at War describes his observations from Berlin in the year after the departure of Berlin Diary author William L. Shirer. Last Train from Berlin became an American best-seller and was reprinted in 2001, shortly before Smith's death.
Unable to leave Switzerland, where he and his young wife spent most of the war, Smith reported whatever the Swiss government would permit. After the liberation of France, he began reporting on Germany and central Europe from Berne. By the winter of 1944–1945, he began sending vivid radio accounts of the German counter-attack in the Ardennes known as the Battle of the Bulge, and he accompanied Allied forces across the Rhine River and into Berlin.
Smith became a significant member of the "Murrow Boys" that made CBS the dominant broadcast news organization of the era. In May 1945, he returned to Berlin to recap the German surrender.
In 1946, Smith went to London for CBS with the title of chief European correspondent. In 1947, he made a long broadcasting tour of most of the nations of Europe, including behind the Iron Curtain. In 1949, Knopf published his The State of Europe, a 408-page country-by-country survey of Europe that drew on these experiences and that argued "both the American and the Russian policies are mistaken"; he advocated more "social reform" for Western Europe and more "political liberty" for Eastern Europe.
Despite these criticisms of Soviet policies, Smith was one of 151 alleged Communist sympathizers named in the Red Channels report issued in June 1950 at the beginning of the Red Scare, effectively placing him on the Hollywood blacklist.
In 1959, Smith hosted a 21-week public affairs series entitled Behind the News with Howard K. Smith. Topics included Nikita Khrushchev (a two-parter), the St. Lawrence Seaway, Fidel Castro, and unemployment in distressed areas.
In 1960, having established residence earlier in Bethesda, Maryland, Smith chaired the first-ever televised presidential debates, held between U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Vice President Richard M. Nixon.
In late 1961, Smith left his job at CBS when a dispute erupted over a documentary called Who Speaks for Birmingham?. This in-depth investigation concerned the battle between civil rights forces and the police of Birmingham, Alabama. Smith, an advocate of desegregation, concluded his commentary at the end of the program by recalling the admonition commonly attributed to Edmund Burke—"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Smith was told to remove the Burke quote from the end of the broadcast. Network president and founder William S. Paley declined to support Smith over the matter, and Smith promptly left the network after twenty years of service. Smith declared that his hatred of discrimination stemmed from living in the racially segregated American South and from watching the Nazis in Europe during the world war.
Smith moved to ABC at a time its news division was a distant third among the "Big Three" networks. After the 1962 mid-term elections, Smith presented a documentary entitled, "The Political Obituary of Richard Nixon" as part of his Howard K. Smith: News and Comment series (1962–1963). Smith referred to Nixon's "last press conference" after his disastrous losing campaign against Democrat Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Sr., for governor of California. In that exchange, the former vice president famously told reporters that they would not "have Nixon to kick around any more." Smith included in the broadcast an interview with Nixon's longstanding nemesis Alger Hiss, a convicted Cold War perjurer. Howard K. Smith: News and Comment aired in the 10:30 Eastern slot on Sundays, opposite CBS's long-running quiz program What's My Line? hosted by John Charles Daly, who had been the first-ever ABC news anchor. ABC stood by Smith on the Nixon "obituary", but sponsors dried up for the program thereafter. It was revived in the 1963–1964 season as simply ABC News Reports.
Smith was a frequent interviewer with Bob Clark on the ABC Sunday news program, Issues and Answers, which began in 1960 and was subsequently revamped and renamed in 1981 as This Week with David Brinkley.
On June 5, 1968, Smith and fellow newsman Bill Lawrence were anchoring coverage of the California presidential primary that had stretched to 3 a.m. New York time. As the closing credits for the special were airing, word came in that U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York had just been shot. ABC simply showed a wide shot of the chaotic newsroom for several minutes until Smith was able to confirm the initial story and go back on the air with a special report. He and Lawrence continued at their anchor desks for several more hours for reports of Kennedy's condition.
In 1969, the veteran reporter became the co-anchor of the ABC Evening News, first with Frank Reynolds, then the following year with another CBS alumnus, Harry Reasoner. He began making increasingly conservative commentaries, in particular a hard-line stance in support of the Vietnam War. He contrasted President Lyndon B. Johnson's decisive stance in Vietnam with the international failure to take preemptive action against Hitler. During this period, his son, future ABC newsman, Jack Smith (April 25, 1945—April 7, 2004), was serving with the U.S. Army 7th Cavalry Regiment in South Vietnam and fought at the Battle of Ia Drang. These commentaries endeared him to President Nixon, who rewarded him with a rare, hour-long, one-on-one interview in 1971, at the height of the administration's animus against major newspapers, CBS, and NBC, despite Smith's having broadcast his "political obituary" only nine years earlier.
During the 1972 presidential campaign, a letter was published that Smith had written to Democratic U.S. Senator Edmund S. Muskie of Maine, indicating Smith's full support for Muskie. The endorsement was written on stationery with ABC's letterhead. Nothing ever came of this controversy, however, and Smith kept his job. Notwithstanding his past temporary friendly relations with Nixon (who defeated U.S. Senator George S. McGovern of South Dakota for re-election), Smith became the first national television commentator to call for Nixon's resignation over Watergate.
Smith remained as co-anchor at ABC until 1975, after which Reasoner anchored solo until Barbara Walters joined the broadcast a year later. Smith continued as an analyst until 1979; he left the network nearing full retirement, and as the Roone Arledge era was beginning at ABC News. Sources say that Smith was embittered over the reduction in time allowed for his commentaries and hence resigned after he criticized the revamped World News Tonight format as a "Punch and Judy show."
Among honors which Smith received over the years were DuPont Awards in 1955 and 1963, a Sigma Delta Chi Award for radio journalism in 1957, and an award from the American Jewish Congress in 1960. In 1962 he received the Paul White Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association.
Smith also appeared in a number of films, often as himself; The Best Man (1964), The Candidate (1972), The President's Plane Is Missing (1973, a made-for-television production of the Robert J. Serling novel of the same name), Nashville (1975), Network (1976), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper (1981),The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), "The Odd Candidate" (1974) episode of the television series The Odd Couple (playing himself), the "Kill Oscar" episode (1977) of The Bionic Woman (playing himself anchoring an ABC newscast), and both V (1983) and the subsequent 1984 television series. He appeared as the Narrator in the 1987 film Escape From Sobibor.
Along with Last Train from Berlin, he wrote three other books, The Population Explosion (1960), the children's book Washington, D.C.: The Story of our Nation's Capital (1967), and a memoir Events Leading Up to My Death: The Life of a Twentieth-Century Reporter (1996).
Smith also had a daughter, Catherine H. Smith of Los Angeles, by his March 1942 marriage to the former Benedicte "Bennie" Traberg (September 25, 1921—October 29, 2008), a journalist originally from Denmark whom Smith called the most impressive person he had ever known, "far above presidents and generals." There were three grandchildren.
Catherine Smith, who wrote her mother's obituary, quoted from Smith's 1996 memoirs Events Leading Up to My Death, that their relationship "was born in an atmosphere of acute crisis." With World War II heating up, recalled Catherine Smith, and both of them heading out of the German capital, they decided to marry just four days after their first date. Her young age required her return to Nazi-occupied Denmark for parental approval and the Danish queen's intervention to obtain travelling papers, but the couple reunited successfully three months later in Berne, Switzerland."
Mrs. Bennie Smith managed her husband's career, handled the finances and investments, and helped with the processing of his publications. Catherine Smith noted that her mother was the one most responsible for the development of his patrician demeanor. "She was a formidable presence at his side and major force behind his success. She edited all his books and articles, and was his agent, negotiating all his broadcasting and other contracts. She arranged every aspect of what, in later years, became a very lucrative speaking career. When my parents traveled on the lecture circuit, she once laughingly told a Lansing, Mich. paper...: 'My husband never knows where his trips will take him .... It's not until we get ready to board the plane that he'll inquire 'Where are we going?' and then I will tell him.'"
The Smiths lived at their Potomac River home in Bethesda, Md. from 1958 until his 2002 death from pneumonia, after which Mrs. Smith relocated to a condominium on Marco Island, Fla. She died at 87 of complications from hydrocephalus. The Smiths are interred at historic Oak Hill Cemetery in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C.
| ABC Evening News anchor
May 19, 1969 – September 5, 1975
with Frank Reynolds May 19, 1969 – December 4, 1970
with Harry Reasoner December 7, 1970 – September 5, 1975
| Face the Nation Moderator
November 14, 1960 – July 10, 1961
The 12th Emmy Awards, later referred to as the 12th Primetime Emmy Awards, were held on June 20, 1960, to honor the best in television of the year. The ceremony was held at the NBC Studios, in Burbank, California. It was hosted by Fred Astaire. All nominations are listed, with winners in bold and series' networks are in parentheses.
The ceremony's format was a sharp contrast to the previous year's. Several Acting categories were either combined or simply removed, and nearly every category had only three nominees, as opposed to the traditional five or six. Due to the relatively small crop of categories, no show received more than two major awards. The NBC anthology Startime received the most major nominations with five.15th Primetime Emmy Awards
The 15th Emmy Awards, later known as the 15th Primetime Emmy Awards, were handed out on May 26, 1963. The ceremony was hosted by Annette Funicello and Don Knotts. Winners are listed in bold and series' networks are in parentheses.
The top shows of the night were The Defenders and The Dick Van Dyke Show. Each won for series, directing, and writing in their respective genres. The Defenders led the night in major wins (4) and nominations (7).1962–63 United States network television schedule
This was the television schedule on all three networks for the fall season beginning in September 1962.
Television historians Harry Castleman and Walter Podrazik (1982) state, "Despite all the promises of programming reform made by television executives in May, 1961, the 1962–63 schedule turned out to be business as usual". Castleman and Podrazik point out that although the three networks had added generally well-made public-affairs and news programs to their schedules, there were "too many of them and their sheer number diluted the audience and stretched resources far too thin to allow quality productions each week". CBS aired CBS Reports and Eyewitness, NBC broadcast Chet Huntley Reporting and David Brinkley's Journal, while ABC had Bell and Howell Close-up and the Howard K. Smith show.This was the first season that ABC aired some of their prime-time programs in color.
New fall series are highlighted in bold. All times are Eastern and Pacific.
Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its rank and rating as determined by Nielsen Media Research.
Yellow indicates the programs in the top 10 for the season.
Cyan indicates the programs in the top 20 for the season.
Magenta indicates the programs in the top 30 for the season.ABC Scope
ABC Scope is a public affairs program that appeared on the ABC television network from 1964–1968, hosted by Howard K. Smith, the future anchor of the ABC Evening News. News reporters Louis Rukeyser, Frank Reynolds and John Scali also appeared. The program provided its viewer with an in-depth look at the important political, economic and social issues that the world faced in the mid-to-late 1960s. Although Smith hosted the show, the program provided its audience with one-on-one interviews of important newsmakers, documentaries on various subjects and roundtable discussions between a group of experts.
Many editions dealt with a review of the week in the Vietnam War.Bill Lawrence (news personality)
William H. "Bill" Lawrence (January 29, 1916 — March 2, 1972) was an American journalist and television news personality whose 40-year career as a reporter began in 1932 and included a 20-year stint (1941–61) with The New York Times, for which he reported from major fronts of World War II, Korean War and, subsequently, as the newspaper's White House correspondent. In 1961 he joined ABC News where, for nearly 11 years, he served as the network's political affairs editor and, during his first year, as an evening news anchorman. The recipient of a 1965 Peabody Award, he was posthumously honored with the Trustees Award at the 1972 Emmy Awards.Bill Shadel
Willard Franklin "Bill" Shadel (July 31, 1908 – January 29, 2005) was an American news anchor for CBS Radio and ABC Television.Edward R. Murrow recruited Shadel while he was working in Europe as a correspondent for the National Rifle Association. During World War II, Shadel covered the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion for CBS Radio. During his years at CBS, Shadel worked alongside Murrow, Howard K. Smith, Walter Cronkite, and Eric Sevareid.
In 1954 Shadel became the first host of the Sunday-morning interview show Face the Nation. He later became one of several anchors for ABC's Evening News after John Charles Daly stepped down in 1960, and also that year moderated the third presidential debate between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.
Shadel would then stay with ABC and retire from their news division in 1975.Delta Music Museum
The Delta Music Museum is a museum in Ferriday, Louisiana. It offers exhibits on sixteen rock and roll and blues musicians from the Mississippi River delta country. The museum opened with a grant from the State of Louisiana and is operated by local volunteers. There is no admission charge; the facility relies on the sales of souvenirs. Visitors from all over the United States have signed the guestbook since the museum opened in the spring of 2002. A scaled-down version of the museum, called simply the Ferriday Museum, had begun operations at another location in 1995.
There are also exhibits on two well-known former Ferriday personalities not affiliated with the music industry: former CBS and ABC commentator Howard K. Smith (1914–2002) and Ann Boyar Warner (1908–1990), second wife of Warner Brothers studio mogul Jack L. Warner. There is a mural drawn in 1991 presented by Monterey High School in Concordia Parish.The first exhibit one encounters in the museum is a sculpture of the three Ferriday cousins at the piano: singers Mickey Gilley of Branson, Missouri, Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Lee Swaggart, the last an evangelist based in Baton Rouge. Other honorees are blues trombonist Leon "Pee Wee" Whittaker, a native of Newellton in northern Tensas Parish.Edward P. Morgan
Edward Paddock Morgan (June 23, 1910 – January 27, 1993) was an American journalist and writer who reported for newspapers, radio, and television media services including ABC, CBS networks, and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
A native of Walla Walla, Washington, Morgan began his news career with The Seattle Star in 1932. He worked in print journalism for two decades, for United Press International, The Chicago Daily News, and Collier's Weekly before joining CBS as a radio and TV reporter.
From 1955 to 1967, Morgan broadcast an evening radio program of news and commentary, "Edward P. Morgan and the News," that won him the George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's most venerable honor, in 1956.
In 1956, Morgan was based in New York City and working for the ABC Radio Network. He broadcast a professional news report of the collision of the ocean liners S.S. Andrea Doria and S.S. Stockholm off the Massachusetts coast, not telling listeners that his 14-year-old daughter had been aboard the Andrea Doria and was believed to have been killed.His daughter, Linda Morgan, was discovered alive the next day, having been catapulted to a deck of the Stockholm when its bow knifed into her cabin. Dubbed by media the "miracle girl", she had received only a broken arm. Morgan then made another memorable broadcast emotionally describing the difference between reporting the news about strangers and how different it was with his own loved ones involved, describing also the extreme emotions he had experienced.
In 1960 Morgan received the Alfred I. duPont Award.Morgan would move to ABC News in the early 1960s where, with Howard K. Smith, he anchored portions of ABC's coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the 1964 political conventions. He retired as an ABC commentator and Newsday Syndicate columnist in 1975. Edward P. Morgan died January 27, 1993 at his home in McLean, Fairfax County, Virginia. He was survived by his daughter Linda, and two stepchildren.
His first marriage in 1937 was to Jane Stolle. Their daughter Linda was born in 1942. In 1945, the marriage dissolved. He married secondly on July 18, 1960 to Katherine Sage Sohier (née Burden), who had two daughters from her first marriage to Walter Denegre Sohier, Katherine Sage Sohier and Elaine Denegre Sohier.Frank Reynolds
Frank James Reynolds (November 29, 1923 – July 20, 1983) was an American television journalist for CBS and ABC News.Reynolds was a New York-based anchor of the ABC Evening News from 1968 to 1970 and later was the Washington, D.C.-based co-anchor of World News Tonight from 1978 until his death in 1983. During the Iran hostage crisis, he began the 30-minute late-night program America Held Hostage, which later was renamed Nightline, and then taken over by Ted Koppel.Harry Reasoner
Harry Truman Reasoner (April 17, 1923 – August 6, 1991) was an American journalist for ABC and CBS News, known for his inventive use of language as a television commentator, and as a founder of the 60 Minutes program.
Over the course of his career, Reasoner won three Emmy Awards and a George Foster Peabody Award in 1967.Hitlerland
Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power is a 2012 book by the journalist Andrew Nagorski.
The book covers the years before and during Hitler's ascent to power in Germany—roughly 1922 through 1941, focusing on widely varying impressions of Hitler by Americans who managed to observe him close up. Few outsiders took the man himself seriously even whilst acknowledging the steadily growing power and popularity of the National Socialist Party.
Figures who appear include:
William Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany.
Martha Dodd, daughter of the Ambassador, had numerous affairs with renowned figures in Berlin, became a Soviet agent.
W.E.B. Du Bois
Ernst Hanfstaengl, German/American close friend of Adolf Hitler. Sometimes known as "Hitler's Piano Player"
Richard Helms Later head of the CIA
Philip Johnson Future influential American architect, and admirer of the Nazis.
H. V. Kaltenborn, famed American radio announcer, doubted Nazi brutality until he and his son were beaten for not giving the Nazi salute in 1933.
George F. Kennan Later famous as the architect of containment
Hubert Renfro Knickerbocker, journalist
Charles Lindbergh An admirer of the Nazis, though he spied on them to report to Roosevelt on their air power.
Edgar Ansel Mowrer, Chicago Daily News Berlin bureau chief, one of the first to report Nazi atrocities, lived in daily peril due to his reports of Nazi atrocities. Eventually forced to flee Germany due to threats on his life.
George S. Messersmith, U.S. Consul in Berlin who very early signaled to American officials the dangers of Nazism and Hitler.
Jesse Owens Winner of four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics
Franz von Papen, Vice Chancellor under Hindenburg.
Sigrid Schultz, popular hostess in Berlin
William Shirer, foreign correspondent for the International News Service and later for CBS.
Howard K. Smith
Truman Smith The first American official to meet Hitler.
Karl Henry von Wiegand First American reporter to interview Hitler, in 1922, his views became enormously influential in American views of Hitler
Sherwood Eddy The Protestant missionary who in the first year of Hitler's reign, visited Germany and spoke against Nazi atrocities.Lettsworth, Louisiana
Lettsworth is an unincorporated community located in the extreme northern tip of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, United States. It lies on the east bank of the Atchafalaya River near its intersection with the Mississippi and Red rivers at the Old River Control Structure. As of 2005, the population is 202. The town's zip code is 70753.
Blues musician Buddy Guy was born in Lettsworth in 1936. The father of journalist Howard K. Smith was originally from Lettsworth.
On the northern end of Lettsworth, bordering the Atchafalaya River, is White Hall Plantation House, an 1840s antebellum structure designed by architect Henry Howard, and once the home of state senator Bennet Barton Simmes (1811-1888), founder of the river town of Simmesport on the opposite bank of the river.Murrow Boys
The Murrow Boys, or Murrow's Boys, were the CBS broadcast journalists most closely associated with Edward R. Murrow during his time at the network, most notably in the years before and during World War II.
Murrow recruited a number of newsmen and women to CBS during his years as a correspondent, European news chief, and executive. The "Boys" were his closest professional and personal associates. They also shared Murrow's preference for incisive, thought-provoking coverage of public affairs, abroad and at home. They achieved nationwide fame, and inadvertently became early examples of "celebrity journalism" in the days of radio and early television news.Richard Nixon's November 1962 press conference
The so-called "last press conference" of Richard Nixon took place on November 7, 1962, following his loss to Democratic incumbent Pat Brown in the 1962 California gubernatorial election. Appearing before 100 reporters at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, an embittered Nixon lashed out at the media, proclaiming that "you don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."Nixon's electoral loss in his home state, failing to capture what was then a traditionally Republican state which he had carried in the 1960 presidential election, combined with his actions at the press conference, was seen at the time as permanently damaging his chances at playing a role in national politics. While Nixon played almost no role in Barry Goldwater's resounding defeat in the 1964 presidential election, Nixon won the presidency in the 1968 election, making a political comeback that seemed nearly impossible after the "last press conference."This Week (U.S. TV program)
This Week, originally titled as This Week with David Brinkley and currently billed as This Week with George Stephanopoulos, is an American Sunday morning political affairs program airing on the ABC television network. It premiered in November 1981. The program is currently anchored by George Stephanopoulos and co-anchored by Martha Raddatz. The program airs live at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time although many stations air the program at a later slot to air local newscasts, especially those in other time zones. Since the departure of popular host David Brinkley in 1996, the program generally finishes last in viewer ratings among the big 3 American Sunday network policy and pundit talk shows, behind Meet The Press and Face The Nation.USS Chawasha (ATF-151)
USS Chawasha (ATF-151) was an Achomawi class fleet ocean tug built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.
Chawasha was laid down in April 1944 by the Charleston Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company of Charleston, South Carolina; launched on 15 September 1944; sponsored by Mrs. R.H. Grantham; and commissioned at Charleston Navy Yard on 6 February 1945, Lieutenant Howard K. Smith in command.Vidalia, Louisiana
Vidalia is the largest city and the parish seat of Concordia Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 4,299 as of the 2010 census.