What Happened to Founding ‘Today’ Host Dave Garroway? Inside Talk Show Pioneer’s Private Life
Today made its TV debut in 1952 with Dave Garroway sitting at the news desk. As the founding host of the program, Garroway pioneered the talk show format that led to success in the years that followed. Keep scrolling for details on what happened to the news anchor after he left the series in 1961.
What Happened to Dave Garroway?
Born David Cunningham Garroway in 1913, he set his sights on his broadcasting career with a fellowship at NBC in the late ‘30s. Garroway graduated from NBC’s school for announcers before joining the radio team at Pittsburgh’s KDKA. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, the New York native joined the WMAQ station in Chicago.
As the host of several radio programs broadcasted across the U.S., Garroway’s popularity increased. In 1949, the newscaster was tapped to host the Garroway at Large variety show on NBC. The series lasted until 1951 but was only the start of the budding TV star’s takeover of the network. Soon after, Garroway landed the lead anchor position on Today with his inviting delivery of news and relaxed persona.
On January 14, 1952, viewers were greeted by the host in his signature thick-rimmed glasses and suit welcoming them to Today’s very first broadcast.
“Good morning,” he said. “The very first good morning of what I hope, or suspect will be a great many good mornings between you and I.”
His familiar tone continued to light up TV screens on Today for nine more years. While hosting Today, Garroway also led The Dave Garroway Show and Wide Wide World. Though he reemerged in the public eye over the years for appearances on the radio and TV, Garroway largely stayed out of the spotlight after his time on Today. He made a cameo in the 1972 television series Alias Smith and Jones after taking acting lessons.
Did Dave Garroway Have Any Children?
Garroway was married three times, first to Adele Dwyer from 1945 to 1946. They welcomed one daughter, Paris, during their marriage. With his second wife, Pamela Wilde, he became a dad to kids Michael and David Jr. The former couple were married from 1956 up until Wilde’s death in 1961. He wed his third wife, Sarah Lee Lippincott, in 1980.
In January 1982, Garroway returned to Today along with other alums to celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary. It marked one of his final television appearances before his death in July of that year from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Following the broadcaster’s death at age 69, Michael shared in a statement that his father ”had been suffering from post-operative complications following open heart surgery” and the family believes he “succumbed to the traumatic effects of his illness.”
Decades after Garroway’s passing, Today continues to honor all the contributions he made to the long-running program. The series celebrated its 70th anniversary in January 2022 by paying homage to its founders.
“I think Dave Garroway and everyone that started this little project in black and white would be astonished and amazed, and I hope they’d be proud,” host Savannah Guthrie shared during the milestone broadcast.
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