John Daly (radio and television personality)

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John Daly
John Daly 1952 It's News to Me.JPG
Daly as the host of It's News to Me in 1952.
Born John Charles Patrick Croghan Daly
(1914-02-20)February 20, 1914
Johannesburg, South Africa
Died February 24, 1991(1991-02-24) (aged 77)
Chevy Chase, Maryland, U.S.
Resting place
Columbarium 4, Section I, Row 24, Niche 5, Arlington National Cemetery[1]
Other names John Charles Daly, John Daly
Occupation Reporter/Newscaster
Game show host
Spouse(s) Margaret Griswell Neal (1937–1959/60)
Virginia Warren (1960–1991)
Signature JohnCharlesDaly.svg

John Charles Patrick Croghan Daly[2] (generally known as John Charles Daly or simply John Daly (February 20, 1914–February 24, 1991[3]) was an American journalist, game show host, and radio personality, probably best known for hosting the panel show What's My Line?. He was the vice president of ABC during the 1950s. On December 22, 1960, he became the son-in-law of Chief Justice Earl Warren, upon marrying Virginia Warren.[4]

Personal life[edit]

The second of two brothers, Daly was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where his American father worked as a geologist.[3] After his father died of tropical fever, Daly’s mother moved the family to Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States.[3] Daly was an alumnus of Tilton School in Tilton, New Hampshire; he later served on its board of directors for many years and contributed to the construction or restoration of many buildings on campus. He did his post-secondary education at Boston College.[3]

He married twice, first to Margaret Griswell Neal in January 1937.[5][6] The marriage resulted in sons John Neal Daly and John Charles Daly III and daughter Helene Fitzgerald Daly.[3][7] It ended in divorce in April 1959.[5] On December 22, 1960, Daly married Virginia Warren, daughter of then–chief justice Earl Warren, in San Francisco.[5] They were married for over 30 years, until Daly’s death. The marriage yielded three children: John Warren Daly, John Earl Jameson Daly, and Nina Elisabeth Daly.

Daly died in Chevy Chase, Maryland, of cardiac arrest.[3]

Career[edit]

Radio[edit]

Daly began his broadcasting career as a reporter for NBC Radio, and then for WJSV (now WTOP), the local CBS Radio Network affiliate in Washington, D.C., serving as CBS’s White House correspondent.[3]

Through covering the Roosevelt White House, Daly became known to the national CBS audience as the network announcer for many of the president’s speeches. In late 1941, Daly transferred to New York City, where he became anchor of The World Today. During World War II, he covered the news from London as well as the North African and Italian fronts. Daly was a war correspondent in 1943 in Italy during Gen. George S. Patton’s infamous “slapping incidents.” After the war, he was a lead reporter on CBS Radio’s news/entertainment program CBS Is There (later known on TV as You Are There), which re-created the great events of history as if CBS correspondents were on the scene.

Famous broadcasts[edit]

As a reporter for CBS, Daly was the voice of two historic announcements. He was the first national radio correspondent to deliver the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941,[citation needed] (recordings of this announcement reveal a minor error, either a mistyping of the copy in haste or a misreading by Daly as he pronounced Oahu as if it were spelled "O-ha-u"), and he was the first to relay the wire service report of the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on April 12, 1945,[citation needed] interrupting “Wilderness Road” to deliver the news. Both narrations have been used on historical record albums and radio and TV retrospectives.

Television[edit]

Daly’s first foray into television was as a panelist on the game show Celebrity Time.[3] This led to a job in 1950 as the host and moderator on a new panel show produced by GoodsonTodman, What's My Line? The show lasted 17 years with Daly hosting all but four episodes of the weekly series.

Moderator John Charles Daly in CBS publicity photo for What's My Line? (1950)

In 1954–55, in addition to his duties with What’s My Line?, Daly also hosted the final year of the NBC Television game show Who Said That?, in which celebrities tried to determine the speaker of quotations taken from recent news reports.[8]

On What's My Line?, each panelist introduced the next in line at the start of the show. Following the 1951 departure of panelist Louis Untermeyer, Random House co-founder and humorist Bennett Cerf joined the panel. Upon Fred Allen’s death in 1956, Cerf became the anchor panelist who would usually, but not always, introduce Daly. Cerf usually prefaced his introduction with a pun or joke that over time became a pun or joke at Daly’s expense. Daly would then often fire back his own retort. Cerf and Daly enjoyed a friendly feud from across the stage for the remainder of the history of the program. The mystery guest on the final CBS program (aired September 3, 1967) was Daly himself. (Over the years, many people had suggested this to Daly, but he could never do it, as he was always the “emergency mystery guest” in case the scheduled guest did not show up for the live program. Despite a few close calls, this plan was never needed.)

Daly and fellow broadcaster Quincy Howe at Presidential convention coverage.
Daly and Howe covering a Presidential convention for ABC.

According to executive producer Gil Fates, Daly was resistant to changes that would have appealed to a younger audience but might have diminished the show’s dignity. For example, Daly usually referred to the panelists formally, e.g., as “Mr. Cerf.” The producers, Fates said, were unable to challenge Daly for fear of losing him as the show’s moderator.[citation needed] The series spawned a brief radio version in 1952 that was also hosted by Daly. The series also inspired a multitude of concurrent international versions and a syndicated U.S. revival in 1968 that Daly did not participate in.

Daly also did hosting duties on Who Said That?, It's News to Me, We Take Your Word, and Open Hearing and was a narrator on The Voice of Firestone starting in 1958.[9]

He also had several television and movie guest appearances from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s, including an uncredited role on Bye Bye Birdie (as the reporter announcing the title character’s induction into the Army) and as the narrator, in a mock documentary style, on the premiere episode of Green Acres.

In 1949 he starred in the short-lived CBS Television newspaper drama The Front Page, where it was thought that his presence and journalistic experience would give the series more authenticity.

During the 1950s, Daly became the vice president in charge of news, special events, and public affairs, religious programs and sports for ABC[3] and won three Peabody Awards. From 1953 to 1960, he anchored ABC news broadcasts and was the face of the network’s news division, even though What’s My Line? was then on CBS.[10] At the time, this was a very rare instance of a television personality working on two different networks simultaneously. (Technically, Daly worked for Goodson–Todman Productions for What’s My Line?, and also filled in occasionally on The Today Show on NBC, making him one of the few people in early television to work simultaneously on all three networks.) His closing line on the ABC newscast was “Good night, and a good tomorrow.” Daly resigned from ABC on November 16, 1960[11] after the network preempted the first hour of election night coverage to show Bugs Bunny cartoons and The Rifleman from 7:30 to 8:30 while CBS and NBC were covering returns from the KennedyNixon presidential election and other major races.

Daly continued on What’s My Line? until 1967. In the 1962–63 season, the program was in competition with Howard K. Smith’s News and Comment program on ABC. A former CBS correspondent, Smith switched networks early in 1961, by which time Daly had already resigned from ABC. Smith’s program ended, however, after a controversial broadcast, premature as it turned out, entitled “The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon.”[12]

In May 1967,[13][14] during the final year of What’s My Line?, it was announced that Daly would become the director of the Voice of America after the show ended. He assumed the position on September 20, 1967,[15] but lasted only until June 6, 1968, when he resigned over a claim that Leonard H. Marks, his superior at the U.S. Information Agency, had been making personnel changes behind Daly’s back.[16]

Daly retreated from the public eye. He did not host the syndicated version of What’s My Line?, although he did co-host a 25th-anniversary program about the show for ABC in 1975. He was a frequent forum moderator for the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute throughout the 1980s.

Daly’s legacy at Tilton School[edit]

Daly’s legacy lives on at Tilton School, his alma mater. There is an award named for him given to “persons whose pursuit of excellence and deep commitment as a member of the school family resembles [sic] that of John Daly’s involvement with Tilton: continuous and widely known expressions of support in word and deed, inspiring others to reach goals that common experience dictates are impossible.”

Awards and nominations[edit]

Emmy Awards [17]

  • 1955: Won, “Best News Reporter or Commentator”—ABC
  • 1956: Nominated, “Best News Commentator or Reporter”—ABC
  • 1956: Nominated, “Best MC or Program Host, Male or Female”—CBS
  • 1957: Nominated, “Best News Commentator”—ABC
  • 1958: Nominated, “Best News Commentator”—ABC
  • 1959: Nominated, “Best News Commentator or Analyst”—ABC

Golden Globe Award

  • 1962: Won, “Best TV Star—Male”

Peabody Award[18]

  • 1954: Won Personal Award, Radio-Television News.
  • 1956: Won ABC Television, Television News for Coverage of the National Political Conventions.
  • 1957: Won ABC Television, “Prologue ’58.”

References[edit]

  1. ^ findagrave.com John Charles Daly
  2. ^ Episode 859 of What's My Line? Originally aired November 13, 1966, on CBS. Rebroadcast on the Game Show Network on January 20, 2008. After Bennett Cerf announces Daly’s full name, Daly corrects his pronunciation: “...for nearly eighteen years I’ve been trying to teach you it’s John Charles Patrick 'Crow-ann'—the ‘g’ is silent...”
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Tomasson, Robert E. (February 27, 1991). "John Charles Daly Jr., the Host Of 'What's My Line?,' Dies at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2008. Scan of original publication.
  4. ^ Obituary Variety, March 4, 1991.
  5. ^ a b c "John Daly Weds Virginia Warren In a Methodist Church on Coast". The New York Times. December 23, 1960. Retrieved July 13, 2008. Scan of original publication.
  6. ^ Bennett Cerf states that Daly is celebrating his 18th anniversary on the January 9, 1955, episode of What’s My Line.
  7. ^ It is unclear if Fitzgerald is Helene’s married surname or if her surname remained Daly at the time of the obituary; the latter is more likely, given that the article does not list the boys’ surnames either.
  8. ^ "Show Overview: Who Said That?". tv.com. Retrieved June 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ Shanley, John P. (September 7, 1958). "Story Behind Music; John Daly to Be the Narrator in New Series of Television Concerts". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2008. 
  10. ^ Daly, John (November 23, 1958). "John Charles Daly's 4 Lives". Toledo Blade. Retrieved August 18, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Fluent Broadcaster, John Charles Daly". The New York Times. November 17, 1960. p. 75. Retrieved July 13, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Smith, Howard K.". The Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved December 29, 2008. 
  13. ^ Kenworthy, E.N. (May 30, 1967). "John Charles Daly to Direct the Voice of America; Daly will direct Voice of America". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2008. 
  14. ^ "His Line Is U.S. News; John Charles Daly Jr.". The New York Times. May 30, 1967. p. 14. Retrieved July 13, 2008. 
  15. ^ "John Daly Takes Oath As Voice of America Chief". The New York Times. September 20, 1967. p. 5. Retrieved July 13, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Daly Quits the Voice of America; Assails 'Executive Undercutting'; Charges Efforts to Reassign Senior Personnel While He Was Away on Tour". The New York Times. June 7, 1968. p. 1. Retrieved July 13, 2008. 
  17. ^ John Daly - Awards
  18. ^ Peabody 1950s

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
N/A (first host)
Host of What's My Line?
1950–1967
Succeeded by
Wally Bruner (1968)
Preceded by
N/A (first anchor)
ABC Evening News anchor
1953–1958
Succeeded by
Don Goddard
Preceded by
Don Goddard
ABC Evening News anchor
1959–1960
Succeeded by
John Cameron Swayze,
Al Mann, Bill Lawrence