Anyone who can remain for 18 years as an anchorman in the nation's largest television market
must be extraordinary. That Roger Grimsby celebrated his 18th anniversary with WABC-TV
on June 1, 1984 is testimony to his winning approach, journalistic skill and unique delivery.
An anchorman who does not limit himself to in-studio reports, Roger Grimsby has completed
assignments domestically and internationally since his arrival at Channel 7.
His on-air feuds with fellow "Eyewitness News" team members, including Howard Cosell,
Geraldo Rivera and gossip columnist Rona Barrett whom he openly called "Rona Rooter" were
legendary. He once segued into a Barrett report after a story about garbage by saying
"Speaking of Garbage."
He also had a bit part in the move "The China Syndrome" starring Jane Fonda, Michael
Douglas, Jack Lemmon and Wilfred Brimley.
Roger won a 1984-1985 Emmy Award for his comparative study of the educational systems in
Japan and the United States. "School Daze; Japan vs. Johnny," a comprehensive, ten-part
"Eyewitness News" special report, brought to light important differences between the two
countries. It also received special mention in the 1984 New York State Associated Press
Broadcasting Awards Competition for "best local documentary."
Most recently he traveled to Geneva and brought Channel 7 viewers the latest on President
Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev's Summit Meeting. He also flew to famine-stricken Ethiopia In
1985 with New York's Archbishop John J. O'Connor, In daily reports and his WABC-TV special
report, "Ethiopia; Poverty and Politics," Roger Grimsby detailed the anguish and hope for
those who are starving.
In 1983, he took on the controversy surrounding the death penalty in a five-part "Eyewitness
News" special report and a subsequent documentary, "Do You Want Them Dead?" Traveling at
home and abroad for an eyewitness look at what it takes to carry out an execution, Roger
Grimsby's reports received the 1983 award for "outstanding news mini-series" from the New
York State Broadcasters Association.
To gain a firsthand look at the military for a WABC-TV News documentary, "The U.S. Army
Today," Roger visited military bases in the U.S., West Germany, West Berlin, and Korea.
Returning to Korea in 1975, He recalled the country of his Army days, comparing it to
a vastly different country two decades later.
When the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan threatened the U.S. supply of oil, he asked if
America would be able to withstand a Soviet invasion. Examining the Rapid Deployment Force,
the most visible sign of military preparedness, Roger observed maneuvers in North Carolina,
California, Puerto Rico, Kentucky and Egypt for an hour-long "Eyewitness News" special
report in April I982. An earlier special report in October 1981, "Taking Risks," focused
on people who put their lives in constant danger, with jobs ranging from skydiving to
working on the New York City bomb squad. He opted for firsthand reporting, skydiving and
auto racing to gain personal insights.
Investigative reports have taken Roger Grimsby to the Middle East, where he reported on
Israeli-Egyptian relations and former Egyptian President Sadat's historic trip to Israel.
Roger also was the only American news anchor in 1977 to visit and report on South Africa's
racial and political strife, following the tumultuous summer of 1976, His WABC-TV
documentary, "The Voices of South Africa," garnered two 1978 New York area Emmy Awards for
"outstanding documentary program" and for "individual craft.
Roger has always shown great sensitivity in eporting the most delicate of subjects. In
"Adoption: Who Are My Parents?" Roger, himself an adoptee, focused on the search of
adoptees for their real parents. In an "Eyewitness News" ive-part special report, he
examined the increasing incidence of rape in the U.S. Both programs earned him Emmys.
With experience in Armed Forces Radio to spark his interest, Roger returned to his native
Duluth, Minnesota in 1954, serving as an announcer or WEBC Radio. Then as correspondent
and news director or various Wisconsin stations including WEAU-TV Eau Claire, WISC-TV
Madison, and WXIX-TV Milwaukee, he was named charter president of the state's United
Press Broadcasters Association.
After a two-year stay at St. Louis, Missouri's KMOX-TV (1959-1961) as a news correspondent,
Roger became news director and anchor of KGO-TV, the ABC owned television station
in San Francisco. Under his leadership, KGO-TV won several Associated Press Awards; the
National Headliners award; the San Francisco Award; the California State Fair Gold Medal,
and four San Francisco Press Club Awards. A graduate of St.Olaf College in Minnesota, he
also studied history at Columbia University's Graduate School under a CBS Fellowship.
Roger Grimsby passed away from lung cancer on Friday, June 23, 1995 at Lennox Hill Hospital in New
York City. He was 66 years old.