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PBS NewsHour co-host Robert MacNeil dies at 93

By Ehren Wynder

April 12 (UPI) -- Longtime PBS news anchor Robert MacNeil died Friday. He was 93.

MacNeil died of natural causes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, his daughter Alison MacNeil confirmed.

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PBSNewsHour in a post on X, described the Canadian-born news anchor as "a driving force behind the show."

"A lifelong lover of language, literature and the arts, MacNeil's trade was using words," the post read. "Combined with his reporter's knack for being where the action was, he harnessed that passion to cover some of the biggest stories of his time, while his refusal to sensationalize the news sprung from respect for viewers."

MacNeil is best known as the co-host of the long-running MacNeil/Lehrer Report on PBS alongside Jim Lehrer.

The two joined forces in 1973 to cover the Senate Watergate Hearings for PBS, which won them an Emmy Award and led to their collaboration on the MacNeil/Lehrer Report two years afterward.

The half-hour broadcasts focused on one news issue per day and dove behind the headlines, offering more in-depth analysis than many commercial news networks.

The show was expanded in 1983 to become The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, the nation's first full hour evening news program covering multiple topics.

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Lehrer died in 2020 at age 85.

Born in 1931 in Montreal, MacNeil had a brief acting career before transitioning into the newsroom, signing on to ITV as a reporter and later as an editor for Reuters.

MacNeil joined NBC News in 1960 and was on the ground in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

He interviewed such high profile figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Ayatollah Khomeini and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

He is survived by four children and five grand children.

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