Russert, Tim 1950-2008 (Timothy Russert, Timothy John Russert, Timothy John Russert, Jr.)

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Russert, Tim 1950-2008 (Timothy Russert, Timothy John Russert, Timothy John Russert, Jr.)


See index for CA sketch: Born May 7, 1950, in Buffalo, NY; died of a heart attack, June 13, 2008, in Washington, DC. Broadcast journalist, political analyst, news anchor, bureau chief, and author. Russert's sudden death, in the middle of the 2008 presidential campaign season, silenced a voice that millions of Americans depended on for their political news. Russert had hosted the Sunday-morning public affairs program Meet the Press since 1991. His hard-hitting interviews of political figures and other Washington insiders drew enthusiastic viewers, who were not only seeking a way to reach the core of a guest's character, history, and intentions, but also to enjoy Russert's spirited interview technique. Russert was a product of Buffalo, New York, an Irish-American Roman Catholic from a working-class family. He understood precisely how to ask the questions that ordinary Americans wanted to ask. He had trained as a lawyer and worked as a counsel to state governors and U.S. senators. When he joined the National Broadcasting Company in 1984 to become a news anchor (The Tim Russert Show) and political analyst (The NBC Nightly News), he found his calling in life. Russert loved politics, lived and breathed politics, and was fortunate enough to revel in political analysis for a living. He was nonpartisan and generally, though a persistent inquisitor with superlative knowledge and recall, not controversial. His colleagues admired and respected him, even when he outshone their best efforts. Public figures volunteered to face his tenacious interviews because of the prestige associated with a guest appearance. Russert was not intimidated by power or celebrity, but it is said that he was awed by one special encounter. When the devout Roman Catholic was invited to meet Pope Benedict XVI during the papal visit to Washington, DC, in 2008, he was reportedly as excited as any other blue-collar worker from Buffalo would have been. Russert had another hero: his own father, a humble sanitation worker who had passed along his traits of virtue, hard work, and integrity, and who inspired the son throughout his life. Russert wrote a moving tribute to his father: Big Russ and Me: Father and Son; Lessons of Life (2004), which was warmly received by critics and readers alike. He received so many thousands of reader responses to the book that he compiled them into a companion volume, Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons (2006). Both books were best sellers.



Russert, Tim, and Bill Novak, Big Russ and Me: Father and Son; Lessons of Life, Miramax/Hyperion (New York, NY), 2004.


Chicago Tribune, June 14, 2008, sec. 1, pp. 1, 12.

Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2008, pp. A1, A21.

Times (London, England), June 16, 2008, p. 49.

Washington Post, June 14, 2008, pp. A1, A6.

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Russert, Tim 1950-2008 (Timothy Russert, Timothy John Russert, Timothy John Russert, Jr.)

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