Bryant Gumbel, Jane Pauley Recall John Palmer

bryant gumbel today

Bryant Gumbel joined former co-anchor Jane Pauley on Today this morning to remember colleague John Palmer, who died over the weekend after a short illness.

Palmer died Saturday, and Bryant Gumbel worked with him and Pauley for seven years on the morning news show. Today explains that the longtime NBC correspondent “moved easily between war zones and five White House administrations, but his closest colleagues said the veteran journalist was known just as much for his graciousness and modesty as for his professional achievements.”

Gumbel agreed, saying of Palmer:

“John was a gentleman with a capital G. He was just gracious in every respect. Just a professional, warm man… Jane was the kid sister, I was the troublesome brother, and we had two eccentric uncles, and then there was John. John was the adult of the group.”

NBC news was Palmer’s journalistic home from 1962 to 1990, and then from 1994 until he retired in 2002. When he passed away Saturday at Washington’s George Washington Hospital after developing pulmonary fibrosis, NBC News said of Palmer in a statement:

“John was a brilliant, brave, and tireless journalist who guided viewers through many of the most significant events of the past half-century – from the early days of the civil rights movement through the tragedy of 9/11. He covered five presidents and traveled to every corner of the world, always showing the empathy and compassion that helped set him apart.”

Pauley recalled Palmer as always awestruck by his position, saying:

“He took me aside one day after the show and he said, ‘Jane, don’t take it the wrong way, but does it ever amaze you that Kirk Douglas knows who you are?’ I think a guy from Kingsport, Tennessee, he always pinched himself, ‘What am I doing here?’ But thank God he was.”

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Pauley also remembered his dedication, saying that he broke a story about the Iran hostage crisis through that sort of attention to detail:

“John broke the news because he went back to the White House and saw the lights on.”

Bryant Gumbel spoke to Palmer’s wife Nancy, and says she explained that he “he died the way you’d want to… he had his girls around him and they told stories and he died peacefully.”