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The First Woman Anchor

Lawrence Bush
June 25, 2017

Dorothy Fuldheim, a journalist who interviewed both Hitler and Mussolini before World War II and was the first woman to anchor a television news broadcast, was born in Passaic, New Jersey on this date in 1893. Fuldheim began her career in radio as the first woman commentator on the WABC network. At age 54 she joined the staff of WEWS-TV Channel 5 in Cleveland, which was the only television station between Chicago and New York. Twelve years later, in 1959, she launched “Highlights of the News,” one of the first half-hour news broadcasts in the country, which she anchored. Her interviewees included the Kennedy brothers, Duke of Windsor, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, Yippy leader Jerry Rubin -- whom she kicked off her set while the cameras rolled -- and every American president from FDR to Reagan. She said that her favorite interviewee was Albert Einstein, who “confirmed for me my belief,” she said, “that man has just begun to develop a brain.” On the date of the Kent State killings (May 4, 1970), Fuldheim famously declared on the air, “What is wrong with our country? We’re killing our own children.” At age 91, after interviewing Reagan by satellite, she suffered a stroke, and she died five years later. To see her tangling with Jerry Rubin, look below. To see a wrap-up of her career at age 83, look below that.

“Fuldheim’s manner of presentation was sometimes poetic and usually feisty.”--Chicago Tribune

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.