35 Facts About Bill Kurtis


Bill Kurtis's reporting on a devastating tornado outbreak led to an on air news reporter and later a very successful news anchor position in Chicago.


Bill Kurtis has been noted for his sonorous voice throughout his career.


Bill Kurtis hosted or produced a number of crime and news documentary shows, including Investigative Reports, American Justice, and Cold Case Files.


Bill Kurtis's sister is former Kansas state Senate Majority Whip Jean Schodorf, of Wichita, Kansas.


At age 16, Bill Kurtis began working as an announcer for KIND, a radio station in Independence.


Bill Kurtis graduated from Independence High School in 1958, the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism in 1962 and he earned a Juris Doctor degree from Washburn University School of Law in 1966.


Bill Kurtis served as an enlisted man in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.


Severe weather was approaching Topeka, so Bill Kurtis stayed to update some weather reports.


The year 1966 in Chicago was the beginning of a tumultuous four years, and as a reporter and anchor Bill Kurtis was in the middle of historic events.


Bill Kurtis covered the neighborhood fires that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.


In 1969, Bill Kurtis produced a documentary about Iva Toguri D'Aquino, "Tokyo Rose", the first interview after her conviction for treason in 1949.


Bill Kurtis's reporting, along with Ron Yates of the Chicago Tribune, helped persuade President Gerald Ford to pardon her in 1977.


Bill Kurtis covered the murder trials of Angela Davis and Juan Corona and the Pentagon Papers trial of Daniel Ellsberg.


In 1973, Bill Kurtis returned to Chicago to co-anchor with Walter Jacobson at WBBM-TV.


Bill Kurtis returned to Vietnam in 1980 to cover the Vietnamese side of the story and, while there, discovered some 15,000 Vietnamese children conceived and left behind by Americans when the US left in 1975.


In 1982, Bill Kurtis joined Diane Sawyer on The CBS Morning News, the network broadcast from New York City.


Bill Kurtis anchored three CBS Reports: The Plane That Fell from the Sky, The Golden Leaf, and The Gift of Life.


In 1986, Bill Kurtis hosted a four-part science series on PBS called The Miracle Planet as well as a four-part series in 1987 on the Central Intelligence Agency.


Bill Kurtis formed his own documentary production company, Kurtis Productions, in 1988, the same year he produced "Return to Chernobyl" for the PBS series Nova.


Bill Kurtis has received two Peabody Awards, numerous Emmy Awards, awards from the Overseas Press Club, a DuPont Award, and has been inducted into the Illinois and Kansas Halls of Fame.


Bill Kurtis is the narrator of a multimedia book by Joe Garner, We Interrupt This Broadcast, with a foreword by Walter Cronkite and an epilogue by Brian Williams which was a sequel to the Edward R Murrow record album I Can Hear It Now.


Bill Kurtis has authored three books: On Assignment, Death Penalty on Trial, and Prairie Table Cookbook.


Since June 2015, just as the Decades network officially launched, Bill Kurtis serves as the lead host of Through the Decades, a daily news magazine that covers historical events from that particular day since the advent of television.


Bill Kurtis' co-hosts are reporters Kerry Sayers and Ellee Pai Hong.


Bill Kurtis narrated the 2010 documentary film Carbon Nation by Peter Byck and was the narrator in the 2004 film starring Will Ferrell, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and its sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.


On July 8,2013, Bill Kurtis was named the Voice of Illinois Tourism.


On several occasions starting in 2009, Bill Kurtis appeared on NPR's news quiz show Wait Wait.


Bill Kurtis replaced Kasell on a permanent basis on May 24,2014.


One segment of the show has Bill Kurtis reading out three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing for contestants to fill in.


Bill Kurtis contributed a spoken-word introduction to The Dandy Warhols' 2005 album Odditorium or Warlords of Mars.


Bill Kurtis married his partner of 40 years, former Chicago TV news producer Donna La Pietra, on December 13,2017.


Bill Kurtis has homes in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago and in Mettawa, Illinois.


Bill Kurtis's father was a cousin of Frank Bill Kurtis, who is in the Indianapolis 500 Hall of Fame.


Scott Bill Kurtis was known to have suffered from paranoid schizophrenia since his mid-teens.


In 2005, Bill Kurtis founded Tallgrass Beef Company, which raised and distributed grass-fed, hormone-free organic beef.