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Lila Diane Sawyer (born December 22, 1945) is an American television journalist for the ABC News division of the ABC network and a co-anchor of its morning news program, Good Morning America. 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 the Forbes "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women" list. On September 2, 2009, ABC News announced that Sawyer will become the anchor of ABC World News after Charles Gibson steps down from the broadcast in January 2010.

Biography

Sawyer was born in Glasgowmarker, Kentuckymarker, the daughter of Jean W. (née Dunagan), an elementary school teacher, and Erbon Powers "Tom" Sawyer, a judge. Soon after her birth, her family moved to Louisvillemarker, Kentucky, where her father rose to local prominence as a Republican politician and community leader; he was the Jefferson Countymarker 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 Hillmarker area of Louisville, is named in his honor.

Sawyer attended Seneca High School in the Buechelmarker area of Louisville. In 1963, she won the "America's Junior Miss" scholarship pageant as a representative from the State of Kentucky, and in 1967, she received a degree in English from Wellesley Collegemarker in Wellesleymarker, Massachusettsmarker.

She attended one semester of law school at the University of Louisvillemarker before turning to journalism.

On April 29, 1988, she and Mike Nichols, a film director, were married; they have no children. Nichols has Daisy (born 1974), Max (born 1964), and Jenny (born 1977) from his three previous marriages. Sawyer had previously had relationships with Frank Gannon, aide to President Richard Nixon, and U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke.

Career

Sawyer served as a local TV news reporter and weather girl for WLKY-TVmarker in Louisville, Kentuckymarker. In 1970, White House press secretary Ron Ziegler hired her to serve in the administration of President Nixon. Sawyer stayed on through his resignation in 1974 and worked on the Nixon-Ford transition team in 1974–75, 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. Years later, Sawyer would be suspected to be Deep Throat, the source of leaks of classified information to 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.

In 1978, Sawyer joined CBS 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, where she remained for five years.

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

In 1999, Sawyer returned to morning news, under a lucrative contract, as the co-anchor of Good Morning America, with Charles Gibson. The assignment was putatively temporary, but her success in the position, measured by a close in the gap with front-runner The Today Show on NBC, has kept her in the position far longer than anticipated.

On September 2, 2009, she was announced as the replacement for Charles Gibson, who is retiring as ABC's World News anchor. She will become the anchor in January 2010 and will be leaving Good Morning America. Along with Katie Couric, this means two of the three leading anchors will be women.

Career timeline



Famous interviews

Sawyer has interviewed many important political figures, such as U.S. President Barack Obama; former U.S. President George W. Bush; former U.S. President and First Lady Bill and Hillary Clinton— first interview after the former's 1992 election to the U.S. Presidency; Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad— February 12, 2007; one of the first interviews granted to an American, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein; Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), First Female Speaker of the House; Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia; former Cuban President Fidel Castro; former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; former First Lady Nancy Reagan; U.S. Admiral Hyman G. Rickover; and former Panamanian General Manuel Noriega. She was allowed to take a special tour of North Korea.

From the entertainment world, Sawyer has interviewed singers Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Lisa Marie Presley, Michael Jackson and Rihanna; actor Michael J. Fox, comedienne Ellen DeGeneres (after her coming-out), the Dixie Chicks, Madonna, Britney Spears, Clay Aiken (twice), and actor Mel Gibson.

Diane Sawyer also interviewed drug king pin Rayful Edmond III of Washington D.C. once in 1989 and once in 1997 on Sixty Minutes.

References

  1. Sherr, Lynn, "Diane Sawyer on Fact vs. Fiction in Frost/Nixon, The Daily Beast, http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-12-06/diane-sawyer-on-fact-vs-fiction-in-frostnixon Retrieved 10 Jan 2009.
  2. ABC News: Diane Sawyer Biography
  3. Diane Sawyer


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