Townsend attended Montclair Kimberley Academy, graduating in the class of 1936. He graduated from Princeton University in 1940 and thereafter attended the Columbia School of Journalism. After working briefly as an editor in New York City he served in the Army. During World War II he was an Army communications officer.
Townsend was associated with CBS for over 40 years. During his tenure he worked on the CBS Radio Network's morning World News Roundup and the Roundup's evening companion, then known as The World Tonight. Townsend covered a variety of news events including: national political conventions and elections, space launches, atomic tests, international peace conferences, and presidential inaugurations.
He anchored the CBS World News Roundup for the better part of 30 years, after CBS sent Winston Burdett to Rome in 1954. Most of that time he anchored 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. broadcasts but abandoned that schedule in last years with CBS because it required him to rise before the sun.
Townsend was Allan Jackson's broadcast partner on CBS Radio on the afternoon that John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, Texas. While Jackson anchored news reports from the wire services and from Texas, Townsend provided news and background information at various points in the initial broadcast.
Dallas was survived by his wife of 56 years, Lois Bradley Townsend. They lived in Montclair, New Jersey and raised four children, three daughters and a son: Katharine, Nancy, Patricia and Douglas. He retired in 1985 from CBS and moved to Sarasota, Florida. They spent much of their time in Bala, Ontario, Canada.
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