Jim Hartz dead at 82

·2-min read
Jim Hartz has died credit:Bang Showbiz
Jim Hartz has died credit:Bang Showbiz

Jim Hartz has died.

The former 'Today' show co-host passed away due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Fairfax County, Virginia, on April 17, his wife Alexandra Dickson has announced.

Jim - who was 82 when he died - had chosen to be removed from the ventilator that was keeping him alive, his wife explained to the New York Times newspaper.

Jim started work as a reporter at KOTV in Tulsa and hosted their morning show 'Sun Up' before being approached by NBC in New York.

He became WNBC's evening newscast anchor and in 1974, joined 'Today' at the age of 34 alongside Barbara Walters, where he covered huge events including President Richard Nixon's resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.

When Jim joined the show, he admitted he expected his stint on the programme to "mean a lot".

He said at the time: "I realised 'Today' would mean a lot. I remember talking with Frank [McGee] after he first did the show; he said he knew it would broaden his perspective and give him a chance to do new things.

"I hope it will do the same for me—it's more than just a news show."

When Barbara left to be ABC's evening news co-anchor in 1976, Jane Pauley was brought in to replace her but executives viewed her and Jim as having too similar styles, so Tom Brokaw was brought in to add balance. After a stint as roving reporter, Jim eventually left the show.

He became a news anchor at NBC affiliate WRC in Washington in 1976 and his other presenting roles included PBS's 'Over Easy' celebrity talk show - which he co-hosted with acrtess Mary Martin - 'Asia Now', and 'Innovation', a weekly science programme.

Jim is survived by his wife, daughters Jana Hartz Maher and Nacy Hartz Cole, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. His son, John Mitchell Hartz, passed away in 2015.

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