Jim Lehrer Bio, Age, Family, Debate, The News Hour, Tension City

Jim Lehrer
Jim Lehrer

Last Updated on by Sabina

Jim Lehrer Biography

Jim Lehrer (James Charles Lehrer) was an American journalist, news anchor, and author. Throughout his career, Lehrer won numerous awards for journalism, including the George Polk Award, the Peabody Award, and the National Humanities Medal.

He is also the former Executive Editor and a former News Anchor for the PBS NewsHour on PBS. Lehrer has written numerous fiction and non-fiction books that draw upon his experience as a newsman and also on his interests in history and politics.

Lehrer went to middle school in Beaumont, Texas, and then graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School (San Antonio, TX). In high school, he was a sports editor for the Jefferson Declaration. From Victoria College, he graduated with an A.A. and then a B.J. from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in 1956.

He joined the United States Marine Corps after his graduation from college. He then attributes his service and travels with helping him to look past himself and feel a connection to the world that he would not have otherwise experienced.

Jim Lehrer Age | How Old Is Jim Lehrer?

James Charles Lehrer was born on May 19, 1934 in Wichita, Kansas, U.S. He is 84 years old as of 2018.

Jim Lehrer Family

Lehrer was born to Lois Catherine (née Chapman), a bank clerk; and Harry Frederick Lehrer, a bus station manager. Harry briefly operated a bus company.

Jim Lehrer Wife | Jim Lehrer Daughters

Lehrer married Kate Tom Staples a novelist on June 4, 1960. The couple has three daughters and six grandchildren.

Jim Lehrer Career

Lehrer began his journalism career in 1959 at The Dallas Morning News in Texas in 1959. He later worked as a reporter for the Dallas Times-Herald, covering the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. Lehrer was a Political Columnist for several years there and he became the City Editor in 1968.

He began his career on television at KERA-TV in Dallas, Texas, as the Executive Director of Public Affairs, an On-air Host, and Editor of a nightly news program.

He then moved to PBS in Washington, D.C., to become the Public Affairs Coordinator, a member of Journalism Advisory Board, and also a Fellow at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Lehere worked as a Correspondent for the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT) where he met Robert MacNeil.

The pair covered the Senate Watergate hearings and the revelation of the Watergate Tapes broadcast, live on PBS. Jim also covered the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry of President Richard Nixon.

He became the Washington Correspondent for the “Robert MacNeil Report” on Thirteen/WNET New York in October 1975. He was then promoted on December 1, 1975 to co-anchor and the program was accordingly renamed “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report”. The duo relaunched their show as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.

Newshour With Jim Lehrer | The Newshour With Jim Lehrer

After MacNeil’s departure in 1995, it was renamed The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and in 2009 became the PBS NewsHour. In April 2008, Lehrer underwent a heart valve surgery and while recovering, journalist Ray Suarez anchored the show until Lehrer’s return on June 26, 2008.

Jim stepped down as anchor of the PBS NewsHour on June 6, 2011 and he continued to moderate the Friday news analysis segments. He however continued to be involved with the show’s production company, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.

Jim Lehrer Debate

He has been involved in several U.S. Presidential Debate-related projects, including the Debating Our Destiny Documentaries in 2000 and 2008. The documentaries feature excerpts of exclusive interviews with many of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates since 1976. He was nicknamed The Dean of Moderators by Bernard Shaw, formerly of CNN since he has moderated 12 Presidential Debates.

He also hosted the first U.S. Presidential Debate for the 2012 U.S. Presidential general election. Lehrer initially had sworn off moderating any debates after 2008.

The Commission on Presidential Debates persisted, and he then accepted as he was interested in the new format. The debate was held at the University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, and also covered domestic policy issues.

The Last Debate Jim Lehrer

Coming out of his semi-retirement to moderate his 12th Presidential Debate, while he was criticized on social media and also in the press for his lack of control and open-ended questions, Lehrer was praised for letting the candidates have some control in the debate on their own terms.

Jim Lehrer Retirement

Lehrer announced his retirement in May 2011 that he would retire effective June 6, 2011.

Tension City By Jim Lehrer

Jim Lehrer gives readers a ringside seat for some of the epic political battles of our time, shedding light on all of the critical turning points and rhetorical faux pas that helped determine the outcome of America’s presidential elections.

Drawing on his own experiences as “the man in the middle seat,” in-depth interviews with the candidates and his fellow moderators, and transcripts of key exchanges, Lehrer illuminates what he calls the “Major Moments” and “killer questions” that defined the debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain. In this paperback edition, he also offers his expert analysis of the 2012 Republican primary debates.

Jim Lehrer Books

Lehere has written numerous novels, penned several plays, screenplays, and also three personal memoirs.

In his One-Eyed Mack Series, he has

  • (1988) – Kick the Can
  • (1989) – Crown
  • (1990) – The Sooner Spy
  • (1991) – Lost and Found.
  • (1992) – Short List
  • (1994) – Fine Lines

Charlie Henderson Series

  • (1993) – Blue Hearts
  • (1998) – Purple Dots


  • (1966) – Viva Max!
  • (1995) – The Last Debate
  • (1996) – White Widow
  • (2000) – The Special Prisoner
  • (2002) – No Certain Rest
  • (2004) – Flying Crows: A Novel
  • (2005) – The Franklin Affair
  • (2006) – The Phony Marine
  • (2007) – Eureka
  • (2009) – Oh, Johnny
  • (2010) – Super
  • (2013) – Top Down: A Novel of the Kennedy Assassination.


  • (1975) – We Were Dreamers
  • (1992) – A Bus of My Own
  • (2011) – Tension City

Jim Lehrer Net Worth

The veteran journalist has not yet disclosed his net worth.

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