Longtime broadcast news anchor, correspondent Roger Mudd passed away at age 93 of complications from kidney failure.
The Washington Post reported the news on Tuesday, citing Mudd’s son.
Mudd joined CBS News as a congressional correspondent in 1961 and was named national affairs correspondent in 1977.
“Roger was a hero in the CBS News Washington bureau,” CBS News president and senior ep Susan Zirinsky said in a statement. “He was a journalist of enormous integrity and character. He would not budge if he believed he was right and would not compromise his ethical standards. He was an inspiration to all of us in the bureau. On a personal note – I sat directly across from him in the D.C. newsroom – Roger was big, not just in his physical presence but he was larger than life.”
Mudd is perhaps best known for his 1979 campaign interview with Senator Ted Kennedy as he was poised to announce his challenge to President Jimmy Carter in 1980.
“Why do you want to be president?” Mudd asked Sen. Kennedy.
“Well, I’m, uh, were I to make the announcement to run, the reasons that I would run is because I have a great belief in this country. … We’re facing complex issues and problems in this nation at this time but we have faced similar challenges at other times. … And I would basically feel that it’s imperative for this country to move forward, that it can’t stand still, for otherwise it moves backward,” the senator responded.
That interview essentially sunk his campaign.
Mudd joined CBS in the early 1960’s, covering Congress, elections and political conventions and was a frequent substitute anchor for Walter Cronkite on CBS Evening News, and anchored CBS’ Saturday evening news broadcasts from 1966 to 1973. He also contributed to a CBS News specials over his time at the network.
When Cronkite retired from the Evening News anchor chair in 1981, the job went to Dan Rather, not Mudd, much to the latter’s chagrin.
Despite a rivalry for a time, the men remained friends.
Roger Mudd was a journalist of the highest standard. His storied career was a credit to his talent and a service to the country. The crucible of newsrooms can be competitive, but I always admired Roger. I enjoyed reminiscing with him in later years about the journeys we traveled.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) March 10, 2021
After losing out on the Evening News anchor role, Mudd joined NBC as its chief Washington correspondent. In addition, he co-anchored NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw for a year before Brokaw became solo achor in 1983, and Mudd briefly co-hosted Meet the Press.
“Roger Mudd was one of the most gifted journalists of my lifetime,” Brokaw said Tuesday. “An astute political reporter and guardian of the highest standards. Roger’s dedication to fundamental journalistic practices remains a marker for future generations.”
Here’s Nightly News’ tribute to Mudd on Tuesday:
Remembering Roger Mudd, longtime network news correspondent and anchor: https://t.co/4lE0uP5r8j@LesterHoltNBC looks back on his life and legacy. pic.twitter.com/I6tEEz7jfy
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) March 10, 2021
Mudd would go on to spend five years at PBS NewsHour and later hosted programming on the History Channel.
“All of us at A+E Networks mourn the loss of Roger Mudd,” A+E Networks chief Paul Buccieri said in a statement. “Roger was our first on-air anchor in the early days of The History Channel. We will be forever grateful for his leadership and enormous contributions which helped build The History Channel brand. He had a remarkable, award-winning career in television and we are very proud to be a part of his legacy. Our deepest sympathies are with his family.”
He passed away at his home in McLean, Va.