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Diane Sawyer Bio


A photo of ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer

Diane Sawyer rose from local TV news to become one of the most recognized journalists in the world.

Photo © Getty Images

Current Media Position:

Anchor of ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.

Significance to the Media Industry:

Diane Sawyer successfully shifted from local television to become a national political insider before returning to media as the respected TV news anchor she is today. She was the first woman correspondent on the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes and is currently the only woman anchor on the three Monday-Friday network newscasts.

Sawyer has proven she can co-host a network morning show, a newsmagazine, work as a correspondent and sit behind the anchor desk. Few TV personalities have that range.

Diane Sawyer's Early Career:

Diane Sawyer credits her father with asking her what she enjoyed doing the most after she'd earned her college degree. Her response was "writing", which led him to suggest that she try television.

In 1967, she got a job doing news and weather for WLKY, which was then the ABC affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky, where she grew up. But three years later, she changed careers and entered the Nixon White House.

Sawyer was part of the administration when President Richard Nixon resigned from office in 1974, then worked on the transition team to help incoming President Gerald Ford. After that, Nixon asked her to join a team to write his memoirs, which she did.

Normally, someone who becomes that deeply involved in politics would find it impossible to return to news media. But Sawyer was able to get a correspondent's position at CBS News, where she later co-anchored the morning newscast before joining 60 Minutes.

Career Highlights:

Diane Sawyer could have finished her news career by staying put at 60 Minutes until retirement. But she made the jump to ABC in 1989 to continue challenging herself.

She launched Primetime Live, a new newsmagazine, then co-anchored 20/20 before spending ten years as co-host of Good Morning America. ABC put Sawyer wherever it needed a dose of style, credibility and a boost to its Nielsen ratings.

So it was only natural that she was the one to replace the retiring Charles Gibson on World News in 2009. The broadcast remains a strong runner-up to NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams in the number of viewers.

Taking on so many media roles put Sawyer in a prime spot to lead on-air breaking news coverage and to conduct exclusive interviews. She co-anchored much of ABC News' live coverage of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and sat down one-on-one with countless world leaders over the years.

Sawyer has earned many honors for her work. A 2009 ABC News special called A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains won a Peabody Award.

Personal Information:

Diane Sawyer was born on December 22, 1945, in Glasgow, Kentucky, and was raised in Louisville. She won the America's Junior Miss pageant in 1963.

Sawyer has a degree in English from Wellesley College. She was briefly a law school student before turning to broadcasting.

In 1988, Sawyer married filmmaker Mike Nichols. While he has three children from previous marriages, they have no children together.

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