Skip to Content
National-World

Dan Rather Fast Facts

Here’s a look at the life of journalist and former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather.

Personal

Birth date: October 31, 1931

Birth place: Wharton, Texas

Birth name: Daniel Irvin Rather Jr.

Father: Daniel Irvin Rather Sr., oil pipeliner

Mother: Byrl (Page) Rather

Marriage: Jean (Goebel) Rather (April 21, 1957-present)

Children: Daniel and Robin

Education: Sam Houston State Teachers College (now known as Sam Houston State University), B.A. 1953

Military Service: US Army

Other Facts

Known for his folksy metaphors and sayings during news reports.

Winner of 33 News and Documentary Emmy Awards.

Timeline

1950 – Editor of his college newspaper at Sam Houston State Teachers College.

1953-1954Teaches journalism at Sam Houston State Teachers College.

1954 Begins working for the Houston Chronicle newspaper and its radio station KTRH.

1956Promoted to news director at KTRH.

1959 – Takes a job as a television reporter for KTRK-TV in Houston.

1961 – Is the news director for CBS affiliate KHOU-TV.

1962Hired as Bureau chief, CBS News Southwest Bureau in Dallas.

1963Bureau chief, CBS News Southern Bureau, New Orleans.

1964Becomes the CBS White House correspondent.

1965Bureau chief, CBS News London.

1965-1966Bureau chief, CBS News Saigon.

1966Returns to job as CBS White House correspondent, staying in the position until 1974.

August 27, 1968 – Attacked by security personnel as he attempts to question a Georgia delegate being removed from the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

1968 – Contributes to new CBS program “60 Minutes.” Over the next 38 years, Rather works as a correspondent, host and co-editor on the show.

1980 – Rather reports from Afghanistan wearing traditional Afghani clothing, earning him the nickname “Gunga Dan” from television critic Tom Shales.

March 9, 1981-March 9, 2005 – Anchor of “CBS Evening News.”

1986 – For a brief time, Rather adds the word “courage” to his sign off of his “CBS Evening News” broadcast. He later says that he’s “the only one who liked it.”

October 4, 1986 – Is assaulted in New York by two men who he says repeatedly asked him, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?”

September 11, 1987 – Walks off the “CBS Evening News” set in Miami to call CBS executives to protest a delayed starting time due to coverage of the US Open Tennis semi-finals. His actions cause six minutes of dead air.

January 19, 1988-December 27, 2002 – Host of “48 Hours.”

January 25, 1988 – Rather has a confrontational interview with Vice President George H. W. Bush over the Iran-Contra scandal. From that point on, Bush refuses to be interviewed by Rather. President George W. Bush also refuses to be interviewed by Rather.

1993-1995 – Shares “CBS Evening News” anchor duties with Connie Chung.

August 1994 – Sam Houston State University honors Rather by renaming its communications building the Dan Rather Communications Building.

January 1997 – William Tager is identified as the assailant in Rather’s 1986 assault. The statute of limitations has expired and Tager, incarcerated for manslaughter in the 1994 death of a “Today Show “employee, cannot be charged in Rather’s case.

January 13, 1999-September 2, 2005Correspondent and host for “60 Minutes II.”

September 9, 2004Rather comes under fire after running a “60 Minutes II” story which alleges President George W. Bush received preferential treatment while serving in the Texas Air National Guard during the 1970s.

September 20, 2004 – Rather apologizes and announces that he no longer has confidence in the authenticity of the documents used in the story about President Bush.

March 9, 2005 – Formally steps down as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News.”

June 20, 2006 – Rather leaves CBS News, before his November contract expiration, ending a 44-year career with the network.

November 14, 2006 – Makes debut as host of “Dan Rather Reports” on HDNet.

September 19, 2007 – Files a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and Viacom, claiming he was made a scapegoat when the network came under criticism over the story about President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.

September 29, 2009 – Rather’s lawsuit against CBS is dismissed.

January 12, 2010 – Rather’s request to reinstate his 2007 breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS is rejected by New York’s Court of Appeals.

May 1, 2012 – Rather releases a memoir called “Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News.”

October 16, 2015 – The film, “Truth,” based on the controversy surrounding Rather and his eventual departure from CBS, opens.

September 27, 2016 – Debuts a weekly show, “Dan Rather’s America,” on SiriusXM.

January 22, 2018 – Debuts a new show, “The News with Dan Rather,” on The Young Turks Network.

CNN