Jessica Savitch - News Anchor, Birthday and Childhood

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Jessica Savitch's Personal Details

Jessica Beth Savitch was a popular American TV journalist and news anchor

InformationDetail
BirthdayFebruary 1, 1947
Died onOctober 23, 1983
NationalityAmerican
FamousNews Anchor, Media Personalities, Journalists, TV Anchors
City/StatePennsylvania
SpousesDonald Payne (m. 1981–1981), Mel Korn (m. 1980–1981)
SiblingsLori Savitch
Known asJessica Beth Savitch
Birth PlaceKennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States
GenderFemale
FatherDavid Savitch
MotherFlorence (née Goldberger)
Sun SignAquarius
Born inKennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States
Famous asNews Anchor
Died at Age36

// Famous News Anchor

Jessica Savitch's photo

Who is Jessica Savitch?

Jessica Beth Savitch was a popular American TV journalist. She was the first woman anchor to present evening news broadcast in Southern United States during late 1970s. She worked as a weekend anchor for NBC Nightly News and presented daily updates on NBC News. Jessica also hosted a documentary program called ‘PBS's Public Affairs’ on American TV series known as ‘Frontline’ that was aired from January 1983 and was associated with the program until her death in a road accident later that year. Savitch was renowned for her audience appeal and on-camera news reading skills. On the other hand, Savitch also drew criticism for her erratic news presentation on live broadcast of a short NBC News update and for her troubled personal life. She started her first job as a newsreader with a local radio station. Her father was the one who encouraged her to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. With that motivation, she decided to pursue a major in communications. After initial struggles, Jessica rose to fame as a popular news presenter in the early 1980s claiming a compensation equal to that of male anchors and correspondents of those times. Jessica met with a fatal road accident on October 23, 1983.

// Famous Journalists

Childhood & Early Life

Jessica Savitch was born on February 1, 1947 in Pennsylvania, US, to David Savitch, a clothing storeowner and Florence, a navy nurse. Jessica had a Jewish and Italian American lineage. She lost her father in 1959 when she was just 12.

She finished her schooling in Atlantic City and started working as a radio jockey at the local radio station WOND in New Jersey. She was the first woman disc jockey in her locality.

Savitch was an alumnus of Ithaca College, New York, and held a majors degree in communications. During the initial days in college, she was discouraged from pursuing a degree in communications because broadcast journalism was not considered an apt career choice for female candidates.

Career

In 1969, Jessica started-off as an administrative assistant at the WCBS, the flagship news station of CBS Radio in New York City. She kept pursuing her dream job of television anchoring by sending recorded audio tapes to various television stations across the country. She became the first female reporter hired by KHOU-TV in Houston on the grounds of her professional ambition, speaking and copywriting skills.

In 1972, she signed a five-year contract with KYW-TV as a general assignment reporter and weekend anchor. Initially, she was restricted to only on-camera news reading and reporting given the unionized work culture at KYW-TV. She eventually gained popularity by joining Mort Crim and Vince Leonard to host the 11 pm news.

Her feature stories on television gained wide popularity given their unique content for the times and her personal touch the stories. Jessica became a celebrity of sorts in her state with women trying to imitate her hairstyle and her dressing sense.

In 1976, she caught the attention of NBC executives during a presidential campaign debate held in Philadelphia between President Gerald Ford and Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter. Her extempore performance to fill-up around 27 minutes of airtime owing to an audio line failure earned her a three-year contract as news correspondent and anchor in Washington D.C. with NBC.

In 1977, she joined ‘NBC News’ as a weekend news anchor and correspondent eventually becoming a popular face in weekend and short news broadcasting segments. While she was extremely talented at anchoring, she failed miserably at a reporting assignment from the US Senate due to lack of relevant exposure to the particular segment. As an anchor, she also played an imported role in covering 1980 Republican and Democratic national conventions.

In January 1983, Savitch began hosting a segment on public affairs on ‘Frontline’, a Public Broadcasting Service documentary while continuing her stint at NBC. She was associated with the documentary program until her death later that year.

Major Works

Jessica spent her major years of work at NBC, where she became the second woman to host a weekend national news telecast eventually becoming the first woman anchor to host the weeknight ‘NBC Nightly News’.

By 1980s, she reached stardom, became popular public figure as a female news anchor in the category of weekend and short news update telecasting at NBC.

In 1982, Savitch published her autobiography titled ‘Anchorwoman’.

Personal Life & Legacy

Jessica married Mel Korn, an advertising executive on January 6, 1980. The marriage was short-lived and ended in a divorce within a year.

In August 1981, she married Dr. Donald Rollie Payne, a gynecologist and obstetrician by profession. The marriage ended within a year following the suicide of Payne, who was suffering from problems related to substance abuse and depression.

Jessica had long-term romantic relationship with TV news reporter Ron Kershaw, who reportedly had physically abused her many times under the influence of drugs. She was also in a short-term relationship with CBS news journalist Ed Bradely.

Savitch had suffered many early ending pregnancies and was reportedly suffering from anorexia, but there were no confirmed reports on both the aspects.

On October 23 1983, Jessica Savitch met a fatal automobile accident, while returning home from shopping along with her then boyfriend Martin Fischbein. She was 36 at the time of her death.

After her death, her family filed an insurance suit against New York Post, who had insured the car Fischbein was driving at the time of their death. The claim was settled at US$ 8 million and a part of this amount was used to fund scholarships in her name to provide financial assistance to women students pursuing broadcast journalism.

Awards and Achievements

Jessica received Clarion Award from Women in Communications Inc. for her work on the series ‘Rape . . . the Ultimate Violation’, where she actually joined the police as an undercover agent for two weeks to come up with a detailed first hand report on the events covered in the program.

In 1979, Jessica was bestowed with honorary doctorate in humane letters from her college, and in 1980, she became an elected member to the college’s Board of Trustees.

During 1980s, Jessica, at the age of just 33, she became the first female news anchor ever to receive a highest salary of $500,000 a year.

Trivia

Ithaca College named a studio in Park School of Communications after Jessica and the college regularly hosts ‘The Jessica Savitch Distinguished Journalism Lecture Series’.

In 1995, Jessica’s biography was adapted into a made for TV movie ‘Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story’. The film became the second ever highest-rated movie in the history of television movies at that time.

Jessica Savitch also inspired the story line of the 1996 film ‘Up Close & Personal’, where Michelle Pfeiffer’s character was loosely based on Jessica and ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’ based on struggles of a female anchor.

In 2006, the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia listed Savitch into their Hall of Fame.

// Famous TV Anchors

Jessica Savitch biography timelines

  • // 1st Feb 1947 To 1959
    Jessica Savitch was born on February 1, 1947 in Pennsylvania, US, to David Savitch, a clothing storeowner and Florence, a navy nurse. Jessica had a Jewish and Italian American lineage. She lost her father in 1959 when she was just 12.
  • // 1969
    In 1969, Jessica started-off as an administrative assistant at the WCBS, the flagship news station of CBS Radio in New York City. She kept pursuing her dream job of television anchoring by sending recorded audio tapes to various television stations across the country. She became the first female reporter hired by KHOU-TV in Houston on the grounds of her professional ambition, speaking and copywriting skills.
  • // 1972
    In 1972, she signed a five-year contract with KYW-TV as a general assignment reporter and weekend anchor. Initially, she was restricted to only on-camera news reading and reporting given the unionized work culture at KYW-TV. She eventually gained popularity by joining Mort Crim and Vince Leonard to host the 11 pm news.
  • // 1976
    In 1976, she caught the attention of NBC executives during a presidential campaign debate held in Philadelphia between President Gerald Ford and Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter. Her extempore performance to fill-up around 27 minutes of airtime owing to an audio line failure earned her a three-year contract as news correspondent and anchor in Washington D.C. with NBC.
  • // 1977 To 1980
    In 1977, she joined ‘NBC News’ as a weekend news anchor and correspondent eventually becoming a popular face in weekend and short news broadcasting segments. While she was extremely talented at anchoring, she failed miserably at a reporting assignment from the US Senate due to lack of relevant exposure to the particular segment. As an anchor, she also played an imported role in covering 1980 Republican and Democratic national conventions.
  • // 1979 To 1980
    In 1979, Jessica was bestowed with honorary doctorate in humane letters from her college, and in 1980, she became an elected member to the college’s Board of Trustees.
  • // 6th Jan 1980
    Jessica married Mel Korn, an advertising executive on January 6, 1980. The marriage was short-lived and ended in a divorce within a year.
  • // Aug 1981
    In August 1981, she married Dr. Donald Rollie Payne, a gynecologist and obstetrician by profession. The marriage ended within a year following the suicide of Payne, who was suffering from problems related to substance abuse and depression.
  • // 1982
    In 1982, Savitch published her autobiography titled ‘Anchorwoman’.
  • // Jan 1983
    In January 1983, Savitch began hosting a segment on public affairs on ‘Frontline’, a Public Broadcasting Service documentary while continuing her stint at NBC. She was associated with the documentary program until her death later that year.
  • // 23rd Oct 1983
    On October 23 1983, Jessica Savitch met a fatal automobile accident, while returning home from shopping along with her then boyfriend Martin Fischbein. She was 36 at the time of her death.
  • // 1995
    In 1995, Jessica’s biography was adapted into a made for TV movie ‘Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story’. The film became the second ever highest-rated movie in the history of television movies at that time.
  • // 1996
    Jessica Savitch also inspired the story line of the 1996 film ‘Up Close & Personal’, where Michelle Pfeiffer’s character was loosely based on Jessica and ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’ based on struggles of a female anchor.
  • // 2006
    In 2006, the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia listed Savitch into their Hall of Fame.

// Famous Media Personalities

Jessica Savitch's FAQ

  • What is Jessica Savitch birthday?

    Jessica Savitch was born at 1947-02-01

  • When was Jessica Savitch died?

    Jessica Savitch was died at 1983-10-23

  • Which age was Jessica Savitch died?

    Jessica Savitch was died at age 36

  • Where is Jessica Savitch's birth place?

    Jessica Savitch was born in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States

  • What is Jessica Savitch nationalities?

    Jessica Savitch's nationalities is American

  • Who is Jessica Savitch spouses?

    Jessica Savitch's spouses is Donald Payne (m. 1981–1981), Mel Korn (m. 1980–1981)

  • Who is Jessica Savitch siblings?

    Jessica Savitch's siblings is Lori Savitch

  • Who is Jessica Savitch's father?

    Jessica Savitch's father is David Savitch

  • Who is Jessica Savitch's mother?

    Jessica Savitch's mother is Florence (née Goldberger)

  • What is Jessica Savitch's sun sign?

    Jessica Savitch is Aquarius

  • How famous is Jessica Savitch?

    Jessica Savitch is famouse as News Anchor