“I don’t really know about journalism. I just know Jane had a way of listening to the person she’s interviewing that made me feel very, very comfortable.” Bill Cosby on Jane Pauley
One of the most recognizable newswomen in America, Jane Pauley is best known as the co-anchor of NBC's “The Today Show” (1976 to 1989), with Tom Brokaw and Bryant Gumbe, and “Dateline NBC” (1992-2003), with Stone Phillips. Her NBC career and a number of hairstyles have become both TV and cultural milestones, and it did not take long for Pauley to achieve the status of being one of TV’s premier personalities. Once, she said, “I’ve been with NBC for 27 years. I think we’ll agree my career is a miracle.”
After leaving “Dateline NBC,” the celebrated broadcaster headlined her TV-talk show, “The Jane Pauley Show.” Being bipolar, she once discussed her problems in dealing with bipolar disorder on the show. Debuting in 2004, “The Jane Pauley Show” was axed after one season due to low ratings.
Pauley has interviewed countless newsmakers from all over the world, including celebrities, royalty and politicians. She also has collected numerous Emmy Awards, as well as many other awards and honors.
“I put two kids in college last fall. When your job as a parent is practically done, you realize that a phase of your life is coming to an end and another is beginning.” Jane Pauley
On the personal front, Pauley is a happy wife and mother. She has been married to cartoonist Garry Trudeau since 1980 and has three children with him. In 2004, Pauley released an autobiography titled “Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue,” which talks about her career and life.
Childhood and Family:
Margaret Jane Pauley was born on October 31, 1950, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Richard, a milk salesman, and Mary. She discovered that her mother suffered from ovarian cancer when she was only 13. A series of heart attacks and strokes followed and eventually led to her mother's death. Jane has a sister named Anne.
Jane attended Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, the same high school as ex- NFL Quarterback Jeff George, and graduated in 1968. She won a scholarship to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, after participating in debate and public speaking contests while in high school. At college, she became a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
On June 14, 1980, Jane tied the knot with Garry Trudeau, a cartoonist. She gave birth to twin girls, Ross and Rachel, in 1983, and a boy, Thomas, three years later in 1986. Jane and her family currently reside in New York City.
A fresh graduate of Indiana University, Jane Pauley worked at WISH in Indianapolis for three years from 1972 to 1975, and then from 1975 to 1976, joined WMAQ-TV in Chicago. At the time, she became the first woman to co-anchor a weeknight evening newscast in Chicago.
“I am 25 years old today and some people say that simply is not old enough. Well, I’m inclined to think it makes precious little difference how old I am.” Jane Pauley
Pauley's career received a huge break when the 25-year-old Indiana native made her national scene debut with NBC's “The Today Show,” co-hosting with Tom Brokaw and later Bryant Gumbel. Thanks to her polish, appeal and self-effacing professionalism, she soon became a favorite that helped launch the morning show to the No. 1 position. While not the first female anchor of the show, she created a reputation for herself by being a symbol for professional women, more specifically female journalists, in the 1980s. After 13 years, she announced her retirement from “The Today Show” in 1989. She was replaced by Deborah Norvill.
Next, Pauley hosted “Real Life with Jane Pauley” (1990) and was a deputy anchor for “NBC Nightly News” (1990-1994). However, the noted reporter did not score another victory until she teamed up with Stone Phillips to anchor “Dateline NBC” (1992-2003). During her 11-year run on the show, her popularity helped keep “Dateline NBC” in the No. 1 spot in the primetime news magazine slot for nine years. In addition to her high-profile program, she still found time to pursue other projects like hosting the MSNBC retrospective program “Time & Again” (from 1996 to 2001) and guest starring in such TV talk-shows as “The Rosie O'Donnell Show” and “Howard Stern.”
“I look forward to a long-running conversation with women who share many of the same issues I do and who have a lot of life experience. These are women whom I’m interested in. I want to know what they want to do next. The stories I like tend to be about some kind of transformation or an experience in which someone had to grow or learn something new.” Jane Pauley on her new show, ”The Jane Pauley Show”
Pauley ended her run on “Dateline NBC” with a 2003 primetime special called “Jane Pauley: Signing Off.” The special drew the attention of over 10 million viewers. In 2004, she revisited the small screen as host of “The Jane Pauley Show,” a syndicated daytime talk show. Hailed by TV press as one of the “most anticipated new daytime talk shows” of the 2004 TV season, the show, however, did not ignite audiences and critics and eventually was cancelled in 2005.