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Sam Donaldson

Sam DonaldsonAKA Samuel Andrew Donaldson

Born: 11-Mar-1934
Birthplace: El Paso, TX

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Journalist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: ABC newscaster, sheep rancher

Military service: US Army (1956-59)

Sam Donaldson, known for wearing what may well be the worst toupee in television history (except maybe for cartoon character George Jetson's), grew up on a farm in bucolic southern New Mexico. There young Sam enjoyed fishing, horseback riding, picking cotton and corn -- that sort of thing. Then, when Sam was only seven years old, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. The very next day his mother purchased the family's first radio so they could listen to news coverage of the war. Shortly thereafter, little Sam decided that someday he was going to be a newsman.

He started out in radio, during his college years, doing the local news for KEPO in El Paso, Texas. After graduation Donaldson went to Los Angeles where he spent a year at USC before returning to Texas to volunteer for Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1956 Presidential campaign. Afterward, Donaldson enlisted in the Army where he served two-and-a-half years as a second lieutenant in the artillery battalion. After his 1959 discharge from the Army, Donaldson landed a TV news job at an ABC affiliate in Dallas. He soon jumped ship to look for work in New York, eventually winding up doing the news for CBS affiliate WTOP in Washington, D.C. In 1967 he was recruited to join ABC News, where he covered the White House beat during the Carter and Reagan years.

Donaldson is one of the most highly-paid newsreaders at ABC, and also one of the 40 largest landholders in New Mexico, as he owns ranches occupying approximately 45,000 acres of Lincoln County. The livestock includes horses, goats, and hundreds of sheep. A newscaster pulling down something like $2 million a year, Donaldson feels perfectly comfortable in receiving the same federal wool subsidies as any other rancher: "If it's in existence and I am eligible to use it, I'll use it."

Father: Samuel Andrew Donaldson, Sr.
Mother: Chloe Hampson
Wife: Billie Kay Butler (m. 1965, div. 1981, three sons, one daughter)
Wife: Janice C. Smith (m. 1983)

    High School: New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, NM
    University: BA, Texas Western College
    University: University of Southern California

    Emmy three times
    Academy of Achievement (1996)
    Friends of Cancer Research Honorary Advisory Board
    Research!America Board of Directors (Former)
    Kappa Sigma Fraternity
    Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame
    Driving While Intoxicated Lewes, DE (cited, 1-Dec-2012)
    Roast: Helen Thomas (1993)
    Roast: Lesley Stahl (1996)
    Roast: Walter Cronkite (1997)
    Roast: Bob Woodruff (2007)
    Parodied As A Muppet Sam The Eagle
    Risk Factors: Toupee

    20/20 Co-Anchor (1998-present)
    Primetime Live Anchor (1989-98)
    This Week Panelist (1981-96)
    This Week Co-Host with Cokie Roberts (1996-2002)
    ABC White House Correspondent (1977-89 and 1998-)

    Fuck (7-Nov-2005) · Himself
    The War Room (14-Sep-1993) · Himself

Author of books:
Hold on, Mr. President! (1987)

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