Garrick Utley Dead at 74

Veteran newsman Garrick Utley has died from prostate cancer at the age of 74.


Veteran newsman Garrick Utley has died from prostate cancer at the age of 74.

NYT (“Garrick Utley, a Mainstay at NBC News, Dies at 74“):

Garrick Utley, a former anchor for NBC News who for many years was one of a rare breed in television news reporting, a full-time foreign correspondent, died Thursday night at his home in Manhattan. He was 74.

He died of prostate cancer, his wife, Gertje Utley, said.

From the battlefields of Vietnam and Iraq to the Soviet-led invasion of Prague, Mr. Utley was a forthright interviewer of troops and commanders in the field and of presidents and diplomats in the halls of power.

Fluent in Russian, German and French, he reported from some 75 countries in a multifaceted career that included 30 years at NBC. He was a bureau chief in London and Paris for the network, chief foreign correspondent, weekend news anchor and substitute for John Chancellor and Tom Brokaw on “NBC Nightly News.” He also hosted magazine programs and moderated the Sunday morning program “Meet the Press.” He later worked for ABC News and CNN.

Mr. Utley began his career auspiciously, rising from office clerk to Vietnam War correspondent in one year. In 1964 he became one of the first network reporters based in Saigon, joining newspaper and wire service correspondents. Like some of his colleagues, he strived for meaningful reporting, offering longer perspectives on political issues and battlefield developments and bringing a little-known war home vividly to Americans.

In 1968, Mr. Utley covered the invasion of Czechoslovakia as Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces crushed the so-called Prague Spring political reforms. He covered the 1973 Yom Kippur war, interviewed the Nazi leader Albert Speer in 1976, reported on the Cold War from Berlin and Moscow and, in 1987, interviewed the dissident physicist Andrei D. Sakharov as he emerged from years of internal exile. He covered a summit of Presidents George H. W. Bush and Mikhail S. Gorbachev in 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall that same year and the Persian Gulf war in 1990.


In the early 1970s, he anchored Saturday evening news programs in New York before being succeeded in 1973 by Mr. Brokaw, then a rising NBC star. For the rest of the decade Mr. Utley was the network’s London bureau chief and senior European correspondent.

Returning to New York, he wrote and anchored “NBC White Paper: America — Black and White,” on the black experience since the civil rights era, in 1981. He was NBC’s chief correspondent in the 1980s, covering foreign and domestic affairs, including presidential campaigns.

He moderated “Meet the Press” from 1989 to 1991 and anchored weekend news programs from 1988 to 1993. He left NBC in 1993 and until 1996 was ABC’s London-based chief foreign correspondent. From 1997 to 2002 he reported for CNN; he co-anchored the network’s coverage of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

He retired from broadcasting around the same time that I all but stopped watching television news. His reporting was a staple for most of my life before then.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Another of the old breed of foreign correspondents have left us. Today’s young foreign correspondents I see on TV can’t hold a candle to the likes of Mr. Utley.

  2. bill says:

    a rare, and unfortunately dying breed.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    He was definitely from another time, another generation. His style was to be calm and deliver the report – no emoting, no histrionics. That is so not today.

    I already miss Garrick Utley.

  4. Woody says:

    One of the best true journalists, who actually reported news, rather than merely forwarded elite opinion.

    Consider what he directly experienced over the course of his career. A well-lived life, yeah?

  5. cleverboots says:

    Highly professional and erudite correspondent.
    Few if any of the current group of correspondents even come close.
    RIP, Mr. Utley.

  6. bk says:

    Hard to add to what others have written. Class act, and one of the last.

  7. Paul Hooson says:

    A very professional journalist. He will be greatly missed.