- published: 26 Nov 2015
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Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings, CM (July 29, 1938 – August 7, 2005) was a Canadian American journalist and news anchor. He was the sole anchor of ABC's World News Tonight from 1983 until his death in 2005 of complications from lung cancer. A high-school dropout, he transformed himself into one of American television's most prominent journalists.
Jennings started his career early, hosting a Canadian radio show at the age of nine. He began his professional career with CJOH-TV in Ottawa during its early years, anchoring the local newscasts and hosting a teen dance show, Saturday Date, on Saturdays.
In 1965, ABC News tapped him to anchor its flagship evening news program. His inexperience was attacked by critics and others in television news, making for a difficult first stint in the anchor chair. Jennings became a foreign correspondent in 1968, reporting from the Middle East.
He returned as one of World News Tonight's three anchors in 1978, and was promoted to the role of sole anchor in 1983. Jennings was also known for his marathon coverage of breaking news stories, staying on the air for 15 or more hours straight to anchor the live broadcast of events such as the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1991, the Millennium celebrations in 2000, and the September 11 attacks in 2001. In addition to anchoring, he was the host of many ABC News special reports and moderated several American presidential debates. Having always been fascinated with the United States, Jennings became a naturalized United States citizen in 2003.