8″ x 10″ Signed March 18, 1997 through the mail
News anchor, reporter. Born December 22, 1945 in Glasgow, Kentucky, to parents EP, a county judge, and Jean (née Dunagan) Sawyer, a teacher. The younger of two daughters, Sawyer, like her sister Linda, often entered beauty pageants. In 1962, Sawyer won the America’s Junior Miss pageant, which included a scholarship prize of $11,000. With the money she attended Wellesley College and earned her B.A. in 1967. She then enrolled at the University of Louisville in Kentucky to study law, but changed her mind after one semester. She decided to pursue a career in broadcasting, because of her desire to write, and the challenge of breaking into a male- dominated field. She landed a job as a weathercaster (describing herself as “a calamity”) and part-time reporter on television station WLKY in Louisville. Within a year, Sawyer was working exclusively as a news reporter.
In 1970, Sawyer began working for Ron Ziegler, President Richard Nixon’s press secretary. As Ziegler’s assistant, she gained firsthand knowledge of the political scene. The position led her to assist Nixon with his memoirs, beginning in 1974 after the Watergate scandal and his resignation. Her assignment was to compile research about Watergate, covering the period from July 1972 until the end of Nixon’s presidency. Sawyer meticulously pored through every book and article written on the subject of Watergate, as well as the Senate hearing transcripts. She gathered what she called “…a sort of computer compendium of Watergate information.” Her exhaustive research brought clarity to a subject that, even for Nixon himself, had developed into a complex and tangled web of national events.
Four years later, CBS News offered Sawyer a position as a Washington-based reporter, which led in 1981 to a coanchor spot on CBS This Morning (now CBS Morning News) with Charles Kuralt. Known for her coolly detached and professional demeanor, it was during this time that Sawyer established her reputation as one of the most successful anchors and news reporters of her generation. In 1984, she became the first female investigative correspondent for television’s preeminent journalism program 60 Minutes. She was also assigned to cover the 1988 presidential campaigns for CBS. Then in 1989, she was lured away from CBS by ABC News to coanchor Primetime Live, a television newsmagazine with Sam Donaldson.
Throughout her illustrious career as a television journalist, Sawyer has interviewed international heads of states and celebrities—including Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Manuel Noriega, Boris Yeltsin, and Syrian President Haffez el Assad. She was the first to interview Michael Jackson with his then-wife Lisa Marie, as well as Patricia Bowman (the woman who accused William Kennedy Smith of rape). She has reported on groundbreaking stories, covering such timely issues as the Iran hostage crisis, reporting from the KGB post in the Soviet Union, and on the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103—a story for which she earned an Emmy in 1989-90. She gained another Emmy for her ongoing coverage of the Menendez Brothers scandal, “Murder in Beverly Hills” (1990-91).
In 1998, Sawyer was given a coanchor spot on ABC’s 20/20, and in January 1999, she joined Charles Gibson as cohost of Good Morning America.
Sawyer became a Television Hall of Fame inductee in 1997. She is also a member of the Broadcast Magazine Hall of Fame.
Sawyer has been romantically linked to several high-profile men, including politician Bill Bradley (whom she met and dated when both were still in college) and actor/director Warren Beatty. In 1986, she met director Mike Nichols, whom she married in 1988.