At the peak of his broadcasting career, in the 1960s, David Brinkley and his partner, Chet Huntley, dominated television airwaves in a manner that's unheard of in today's fragmented world of cable and broadcast news. The Huntley-Brinkley team garnered 84 percent of the viewing audience for the 1964 Democratic convention.
That's why the broadcasters' closing lines of "good night, David," and "good night, Chet," became a popular part of the 1960s lexicon. Their two-anchor experiment at the 1956 Democratic and Republican national conventions was such a success that it's now become a staple of local and national newscasts.
The span of history during which Brinkley was an active journalist stretched from his stint as a rookie radio reporter who covered Franklin Delano Roosevelt's White House to coverage of President Bill Clinton's re-election in 1996.
Throughout his career Brinkley stood out among television journalists thanks to a clipped speaking style, a dry sense of humor and a widespread knowledge of the world of Washington politics.
Years after Huntley retired Brinkley was shelved as an NBC anchor and relegated to airing commentaries. Then, in his 60s, when many are contemplating retirement, Brinkley started a second, successful phase of his career, as host of a popular, ABC Sunday morning news show that he stuck with until retirement in 1996.
Through 11 presidents, 22 political conventions and countless newscasts, Brinkley spoke to the American public in a straightforward and succinct manner and always maintained a sense of humor about the human follies behind the headlines.
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