POLITICS

Jim Lehrer, PBS NewsHour Founder, Dead At 85

He served as the show's anchor for 36 years before retiring in 2011.

Jim Lehrer, the co-founder and longtime anchor of “PBS NewsHour,” died Thursday.

Judy Woodruff, the show’s anchor and managing editor, revealed the news. Lehrer, 85, died “peacefully in his sleep at home,” she said in a statement on the PBS site. 

“I’m heartbroken at the loss of someone who was central to my professional life, a mentor to me and someone whose friendship I’ve cherished for decades,” she said. “I’ve looked up to him as the standard for fair, probing and thoughtful journalism and I know countless others who feel the same way.”

Moderator Jim Leher stands on stage before a presidential debate on October 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. 
Moderator Jim Leher stands on stage before a presidential debate on October 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. 

Lehrer started the show in 1975 with co-founder Robert MacNeil after the pair teamed up to cover the unfolding Watergate scandal in 1973. The show underwent several name changes before becoming the “PBS NewsHour” in 2009.

“From co-creating the groundbreaking MacNeil/Lehrer Report to skillfully moderating many presidential debates, Jim exemplified excellence in journalism throughout his extraordinary career,” PBS President Paula Kerger said Thursday. “A true giant in news and public affairs, he leaves behind an incredible legacy that serves as an inspiration to us all. He will be missed.”

He is survived by his wife, three daughters and six grandchildren.

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