NBC Correspondent Edwin Newman Dies at 91

Longtime newsman covered national politics and wrote two books on the English language

NBC television newsman Edwin Newman  died of pneumonia on Aug. 13, his wife and family announced on Wednesday. He was 91.

In a career that spanned three decades, Newman moderated presidential debate, reported on the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, covered the Six Day Arab-Israeli War, and wrote two books on the use of the English language, "Strictly Speaking" and "A Civil Tongue." Yet he was never promoted to the news anchor's chair despite filling in on several occasions.

Many said that Newman, a man of modest physical attributes, lacked the good looks required to be the face of the network's news coverage.

In addition to being a key element in NBC's political coverage, Newman worked as a drama critic on the network's New York affiliate and showed his lighter side as a two-time host of "Saturday Night Live."

Following a stint in the Navy during World War II, Newman began his journalism career at the United Press reporting on the State Department. From there he moved to CBS News (Radio), eventually landing at NBC in 1952.

As bureau chief in Rome and Paris, Newman covered the Algerian War and the political rise of Charles de Gaulle. After returning stateside, Newman primarily focused on national politics, contributing not just to the nightly news, but to "The Today Show" and "Meet the Press" on a regular basis.

Though politics and international relations remained his bailiwick, he interviewed a wide-ranging list of prominent figures including filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, boxer Muhammad Ali, and Japanese Emperor Hirohito.

During his career he earned a George Foster Peabody Award in 1966 for his radio broadcasts and an Emmy the same year for his drama criticism.

Newman retired from NBC in 1984, but returned to the air as the anchor of USA's weekly news satire "Weekly World News" in 1996.

He is survived by his wife Rigel and daughter Nancy.