Diane Sawyer

Diane Sawyer
Diane Sawyer

Sawyer at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Jesus Henry Christ
Born Lila Diane Sawyer
December 22, 1945 (1945-12-22) (age 65)
Glasgow, Kentucky, U.S.
Education Wellesley College, B.A., 1967
Occupation Television journalist
Spouse(s) Mike Nichols (1988 – present)
Years active 1962 – present
Official website

Lila Diane Sawyer (born December 22, 1945; age 65) is the current anchor of ABC News' flagship program, ABC World News. Previously, Sawyer had been co-anchor of ABC News's morning news program, Good Morning America (GMA).


Early life and education

Born in Glasgow, Kentucky, Diane Sawyer is the daughter of Jean W. Sawyer – an elementary school teacher – and Erbon Powers "Tom" Sawyer, a judge.[1] Soon after her birth, her family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where her father rose to local prominence as a Republican politician and community leader; he was Kentucky's Jefferson County Judge/Executive when he was killed in a car accident on Louisville's Interstate 64 in 1969. E. P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park, located in the Frey's Hill area of Louisville, is named in his honor.

Sawyer attended Seneca High School in the Buechel area of Louisville. In 1963, she won the "America's Junior Miss" scholarship pageant as a representative from the State of Kentucky.

During the period from 1962–1965, Sawyer was "America's Junior Miss" touring the country to promote the Coca-Cola Pavilion at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair.

In 1967, she received a bachelor of arts degree with a major in English from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. There, she was a member of the Wellesley College Blue Notes, an A Capella group and Phi Sigma Lecture Society. She attended one semester of law school at the University of Louisville before turning to journalism.


Sawyer began her professional career in Republican Party politics. In 1970, White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler hired her to serve in the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon. Sawyer continued through Nixon's resignation from the presidency in 1974 and worked on the Nixon-Ford transition team in 1974–1975, after which she decamped with Nixon to California and helped him write his memoirs, published in 1978. She also helped prepare Nixon for his famous set of television interviews with journalist David Frost in 1977.[2]

Years later, Sawyer would be suspected of being Deep Throat, the source of leaks of classified information to journalist Bob Woodward during the Watergate scandal. In 2005 Deep Throat was identified as W. Mark Felt, but prior to that, Rabbi Baruch Korff – a longtime Nixon confidant and defender known as "Nixon's rabbi" – said on his deathbed that he believed Sawyer was Deep Throat. Sawyer laughed it off, and she was one of six people to request and receive a public denial from Woodward.[3][4]

In 1978, Sawyer joined CBS News as a political correspondent and became a co-anchor, with Bill Kurtis, of the CBS Morning News in 1981. In 1984, she became a correspondent for 60 Minutes, a CBS News investigative television newsmagazine; she remained for five years.

In 1989, she moved to ABC News to co-anchor newsmagazine Primetime Live, with Sam Donaldson. From 1998 to 2000, she would become a co-anchor for ABC's 20/20, also a newsmagazine, co-anchoring on Wednesdays with Donaldson and on Sundays with Barbara Walters.

In 1999, Sawyer returned to morning news (GMA), under a lucrative contract[citation needed], as the co-anchor of GMA with Charles Gibson. The assignment was putatively temporary, but her success in the position, measured by a close in the gap with front-runner Today, NBC News's morning program, sustained her in the position far longer than anticipated.

On September 2, 2009, she was announced as the successor to Gibson, who retired as ABC World News anchor on Friday, December 18, 2009. She left GMA on December 11, 2009, and was scheduled to become the ABC World News anchor in January 2010. However, on December 1, 2009, The New York Times reported that instead of moving to ABC World News in January 2010, Sawyer would start on December 21, 2009, three days after Gibson's departure .[5] For over a year in 2010-2011 with Katie Couric then anchor of CBS News, two of the three network news anchors on broadcast television were women.[6] Ratings jumped 8% for 60 days after her first four weeks, averaging 8.8 million viewers.[7] She signs off at the end of her nightly broadcast with "I'll see you right back here tomorrow night." The show, like its competitor evening newscasts, ended the year with ratings 14% below that of the preceding year.

Career timeline

  • 1967–1970: WLKY-TV news and weather reporter
  • 1970–1974: White House press aide
  • 1974–1978: Literary assistant to former President Richard Nixon
  • 1981–1984: CBS Morning News anchor
  • 1984–1989: 60 Minutes correspondent[8][9]
  • 1989–1998, since 2000: Primetime Live co-anchor[8][9]
  • 1998–2000: 20/20 co-anchor[9]
  • January 1999 – December 11, 2009: Good Morning America co-anchor (Then Anchor when Charles Gibson left to ABC World News)[8]
  • December 21, 2009 – present: ABC World News anchor[5]
  • Traveled to Haiti to cover the aftermath of the devastating earthquake


In 2001 she was named one of the thirty most-powerful women in America by the Ladies' Home Journal. In 2007 she ranked 62nd on "Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". She has won multiple awards, including a 2009 Peabody Award for her work on A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains.[10]

Notable interviews (selected)

Sawyer has interviewed many political figures including U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. She conducted the first interview with U.S. President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton after his first election to the presidency in 1992.[8]

On February 12, 2007, she interviewed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Her interview[clarification needed] with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was his first Western television interview in a decade.

On November 14th, 2011, Diane secured another exclusive by being the first person to interview Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, ten months after she survived an assasination attempt. Sawyer spent the day with the wounded politican and her husband, Mark Kelly and observed her during a speech therapy session. Diane since told People Magazine, "Of all the people I've interviewed, she's right there at the top." Diane's comment about Gabby

She has also interviewed:

She was allowed to take a special tour of North Korea.[clarification needed]

From the entertainment world, Sawyer has interviewed, especially as a host of GMA:

Sawyer also interviewed drug kingpin Rayful Edmond III of Washington, D.C., in 1989 and once again in 1997 on 60 Minutes.[citation needed][clarification needed]

Personal life

On April 29, 1988, she and Mike Nichols, a film director, were married. They have no children. Nichols has 3 from previous marriages: Daisy, born in 1964; Max, born in 1974; and Jenny, born in 1977. Sawyer had previously had relationships with Frank Gannon, a Nixon aide, and Richard Holbrooke, a U.S diplomat.[12] Forbes reported that she made $12 million in 2005.[13]


  1. ^[verification needed]"Diane Sawyer Biography (1955?-)". filmreference.com. http://www.filmreference.com/film/38/Diane-Sawyer.html. Retrieved September 17, 2009. 
  2. ^ Sherr, Lynn (December 6, 2008). "Diane Sawyer on Fact vs. Fiction in Frost/Nixon — The Good Morning America Host—Who Worked for Richard Nixon at the Time of His Interview with David Frost—Talks with The Daily Beast about Her Memories of Her Ex-Boss.". Blog at The Daily Beast. Accessed December 12, 2009.
  3. ^[dead link]Carlin, John (June 28, 1995). "Dying Rabbi 'Names' Watergate's 'Deep Throat'". FindArticles (The Independent). http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19950628/ai_n13991211/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1. Retrieved January 10, 2009. 
  4. ^ Staff writer (June 17, 2002). "Just Who is Deep Throat?". CNN. http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/06/17/deep.throat.facts/. Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Stelter, Brian; Carter, Bill (December 1, 2009). "ABC Plans Low-Key Handoff for ‘World News’". Blog at The New York Times. http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/in-a-low-key-hand-off-abcs-gibson-to-depart-on-dec-11/. Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  6. ^[dead link]Bauder, David (September 2, 2009). "Sawyer to Take Over as Anchor of ABC Evening News". The Associated Press via Yahoo! News. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090902/ap_on_en_tv/us_abc_gibson. Retrieved September 16, 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ Diane Sawyer sees 8 percent boost in ratings as ABC's 'World News' anchor, Sherryl Connelly, New York Daily News, January 25, 2010
  8. ^ a b c d Staff writer (April 26, 2007). "Diane Sawyer's Biography — Anchor, Good Morning America. ABC News. Accessed December 12, 2009.
  9. ^ a b c Staff writer (undated). "Diane Sawyer". Internet Movie Database. Accessed December 12, 2009.
  11. ^ http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20089065,00.html
  12. ^ Howard, Margo (November 5, 1984). "60 Minutes' Newest Correspondent, Diane Sawyer — It Doesn't Take America's No. 1 Ex-Weathergirl to Know That the Wind Is Blowing Onward and Upward for 60 Minutes' Newest Correspondent". People. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20089065,00.html. Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  13. ^ Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/53/AU0O.html. 

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Charles Gibson
ABC World News anchor
December 21, 2009–pressent
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kevin Newman and Lisa McRee
Good Morning America co-anchor
January 18, 1999–December 11, 2009
with Charles Gibson (from January 18, 1999 to June 28, 2006), and Robin Roberts (from May 23, 2005 to December 11, 2009)
Succeeded by
George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts

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