Sander Vanocur

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sander Vanocur
Sander Vanocur in 2006.jpg
Vanocur in 2006
Sander Vinocur

(1928-01-08) January 8, 1928 (age 91)
Alma materNorthwestern University
OccupationSeries host
Known forBroadcast journalism
Spouse(s)Edith Pick (1956-1975; her death; 2 children)
Virginia Backus Wood (m. 1975)

Sander "Sandy" Vanocur (/ˌvænˈkər/) (born Alexander Vinocur, January 8, 1928) is an American journalist.

Life and career[edit]

Vanocur was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Rose (Millman) and Louis Vinocur, a lawyer. His family is of Russian Jewish descent.[1] Vanocur moved to Peoria, Illinois when he was twelve years old.[2] After attending Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois,[2] he earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the Northwestern University School of Speech (1950). He began his journalism career as a reporter on the London staff of The Manchester Guardian and also did general reporting for The New York Times.

Broadcast journalism career[edit]

Described as "one of the country's most prominent political reporters during the 1960s,"[3] Vanocur served as White House correspondent and national political correspondent for NBC News in the 1960s and early 1970s.[4] He was one of the questioners at the first Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960 and was also chosen as one of the questioners in the 1992 presidential debate[5] as well as one of NBC's "four horsemen," its floor reporters at the political conventions in the 1960s—the other three were John Chancellor, Frank McGee, and Edwin Newman.[6] While White House correspondent during the Kennedy administration, Vanocur was one of the first reporters to publicly ask Kennedy to justify the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Vanocur also dubbed Kennedy's coterie the "Irish mafia."[7]

Later, Vanocur covered the 1968 United States presidential election in which Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Vanocur, who had interviewed Kennedy on June 4, 1968, shortly before the Democratic candidate was shot, reported on the incident from The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California, for the entire night. On the final night of the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, during a convention-wrapping Thursday night round-table discussion with his fellow NBC floor reporters in the vacated folding chairs on the convention hall floor, Vanocur suggested that the Republicans had "kissed off the black vote" in 1968, a comment which caused a media uproar in the ensuing week.[citation needed]

Vanocur also served as host of First Tuesday, a monthly newsmagazine that premiered in 1969 and continued after Vanocur left the network.[8] His work at NBC earned him a place on the Nixon administration's "enemies list".

After leaving NBC in 1971, Vanocur worked for PBS and as a television writer for The Washington Post. He joined ABC News in 1977 and worked there until 1991, holding various positions, including Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, Senior Correspondent in Buenos Aires, and anchor for Business World, the first regularly scheduled weekly business program. He covered the 1997, 1998, and 1999 World Economic Summits and was Chief Overview Correspondent during the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections. In 1984, Vanocur moderated the Vice Presidential debate between incumbent George H. W. Bush and Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro. He made a cameo appearance as himself in the movie Dave and was one of the major performers, again playing himself, in the sci-fi television special Without Warning as one of the main news anchors linking the various scenes together.

Vanocur hosted two of the History Channel's primetime series: Movies in Time and History's Business.


Vanocur married his first wife, fashion designer Edith Pick, on March 3, 1956, and they had two sons, Nicholas and Christopher Vanocur. Christopher is a television news reporter and was a news anchor in Salt Lake City.[9] After Edith's death in 1975, Vanocur married Virginia Backus Wood on December 19, 1975.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b "Honesty Rates Tops With Top Reporter". The Evening Independent. June 13, 1970. p. 1-B.
  3. ^ "An on-scene newsman recalls RFK's shooting". MSNBC. June 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
  4. ^ "CFP96 Plenary Session". Retrieved 2009-06-26.
  5. ^ "Debate Transcript". Commission on Presidential Debates. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16.
  6. ^ Frank, Reuven (1991). Out of Thin Air: The Brief Wonderful Life of Network News. Simon & Schuster. p. 214.
  7. ^ Sidey, Hugh (1982-07-12). "Styles of Political Mafia". TIME. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  8. ^ Murray, Michael D. (1999). Encyclopedia of Television News. Greenwood. p. 172.
  9. ^ H.W. Wilson Company (1964). 1940-43, M. Block.- 1944-52, A. Rothe.- 1953- M.D. Candee (eds.). Current Biography Yearbook. H. W. Wilson Co. p. 441. ISSN 0084-9499. OCLC 1565606.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)

External links[edit]

Sander Vanocur on IMDb