Lester Holt (with apron) anchoring Weekend Today
March 8, 1959 |
Marin County, California, U.S.
|Education||California State University, Sacramento|
|Years active||1981 – present|
|Notable credit(s)||Weekend Today
NBC Nightly News
weekend anchor (2007–present)
|Religion||Christian Churches of Christ|
Early years through college
Holt graduated from Cordova High School, Rancho Cordova, California, in 1977, and holds a degree in government from California State University in Sacramento. In 2012 Holt told American Profile news magazine: "My first on-air job was actually as a disc jockey at a Country and Western station. The only time I could land a full-time gig was if I was willing to report the news." Holt would keep the job with the radio station through his college years.
Holt spent 19 years with CBS beginning in 1981, when he was hired as a reporter for WCBS-TV in New York City. In 1982, he became a reporter and weekend anchor on KNXT in Los Angeles, and the next year he returned to WCBS-TV as a reporter and weekend anchor. In 1986, Holt moved to WBBM-TV in Chicago, where he spent 14 years anchoring the evening news. Holt not only worked at the anchor desk, but also reported extensively from troubled spots around the world including Iraq, Northern Ireland, Somalia, El Salvador and Haiti.
Holt joined MSNBC in 2000. In August 2005, he assumed full-time duties at NBC News, where he became a substitute anchor for NBC Nightly News and Today. Holt became a full-time co-anchor of Weekend Today following the untimely death of previous co-anchor David Bloom. Until late 2005, he also anchored a two-hour daily newscast on MSNBC. On May 9, 2007, Holt was named anchor of the weekend edition of NBC Nightly News, succeeding John Seigenthaler. He also is a current host for NBC's Dateline.
In addition to his primary responsibilities at NBC News, he hosted a special for The History Channel about the 9/11 conspiracy theories, served as a sportsdesk reporter for NBC Sports coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics, and is the host of Dateline on ID, an edition of Dateline NBC shown on the Investigation Discovery network. In 2008, he narrated a documentary regarding the actual crystal skulls on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Holt has made cameo appearances in the films The Fugitive (1993); and Primal Fear (1996); as well as on television shows like the episode "Red, White, or Blue" of the series Due South, and "Fate" of Early Edition. He also appeared on the episode "Cleveland" of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. He played himself anchoring an NBC newscast, but when he turns towards another camera, he looks straight towards a paranoid Tracy Jordan, who was watching the newscast, and told him that "The Black Crusaders" – a group of African-American performers – are going to get him (Tracy believes that this "group" exists). He also did a voice-over in the episode "Sandwich Day", announcing that Jack Donaghy would be a new cabinet member in the Bush administration. Tina Fey commented in that episode's commentary that Holt is a great guy and he is very flexible. Holt announced the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the USA Network. He was also featured in Making Music Magazine.
- 1990: Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his work on CBS's 48 Hours: No Place Like Home.
- 2012: Honorary Doctorate from Pepperdine University
Holt is of Jamaican descent. His maternal grandfather is half white and half Indian. The remainder of his ancestors are of West African and Scottish descent. He resides in Manhattan with his wife, Carol. They have two sons, Stefan and Cameron. Stefan Holt graduated in 2009 from Pepperdine in Malibu, CA, and is now the morning news anchor at WMAQ-TV NBC5 Chicago. In his spare time, Holt plays the bass guitar, which he talked about in the September/October issue of Making Music Magazine.
Holt attends the Manhattan Church of Christ in New York.
- "Today in history: March 8th". WBBH. 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
- "It's back to school for 'Today' host", May 2004.
- Meadows, Bob (May 24, 2004). "National Newshound: Hosting Shows Morning, Afternoon and Night, Lester Holt—"Iron Pants" to His Colleagues—Thrives as NBC's Man for All Time Slots". People. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
- a "That would be the former high school class clown who talked his way into a job at a local radio station as a Sacramento teen. The youngest of four children born to retired Air Force master sergeant Lester, 72, and regional planner June, 73, Holt developed his trademark clipped delivery covering the fire and police beat and kept his broadcasting job while studying at California State University, Sacramento." — ¶ 4.
- "Lester Holt". NBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
- "Ask American Profile", American Profile magazine, February 5, 2012.
- Meadows, Bob (May 24, 2004). "National Newshound". People 61 (20). Retrieved 2009-03-25
- Hinckley, David (2007-05-13). "TV anchor keeping it real". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
- Frager, Ray (2008-07-16). "Your NBC Olympics lineup". Medium Well. The Baltimore Sun.
- "Discovery Times Channel Becomes Investigation Discovery on January 27, With Slate of New Fact-Based Programming" (Press release). Discovery Channel. 2008-01-23.
- Holt, Lester (2007-05-11). "To Jamaica with Mom". allDAY. NBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
- "NBC 5’s Stefan Holt: Rising son in the morning", Time Out Chicago, February 13, 2012.
- Holt, Lester (2007-10-26). "Today's Anchor Chat: Lester Holt". allDAY. NBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
- Ross, Jr., Bobby (2010). "Anchor for his soul: Lester Holt reflects on faith and journalism". Archived from the original on 2012-07-24.