Garrick Utley, the son of a pioneering Chicago television news couple, began as a copy boy for the Chicago Sun-Times and rose to prominence as a globe-trotting correspondent for three networks, moderator of “Meet the Press” and weekend anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and “Sunday Today.”
Utley, who was 74, died of prostate cancer Thursday at his home in New York, according to family. He passed “with the same grace and dignity he showed throughout his life and career,” said Utley’s sister-in-law, Chicago journalist Carol Marin.
Utley joined NBC News in 1963 as an assistant to John Chancellor in the network’s Brussels bureau. The following year, he was assigned to the Saigon bureau, where he was among the first television correspondents to cover the Vietnam War. He went on to report from more than 70 countries, winning numerous honors including an Edward R. Murrow Award and George Foster Peabody Award.
“Garrick was the first of our generation to crack the starting lineup of NBC News in the glory days of Huntley-Brinkley,” longtime news anchor Tom Brokaw wrote in a note to colleagues, calling Utley “always the complete gentleman.”
After three decades at NBC News, Utley joined ABC News as London-based chief foreign correspondent. He later moved to CNN, where he co-anchored coverage of the September 11 attacks and served as a special correspondent and contributor.
His work for public broadcasting included hosting “America Abroad,” a documentary series for Public Radio International, and “Live From the Met” opera broadcasts for PBS.
Utley most recently was a professor of broadcasting and journalism at State University of New York – Oswego and a senior fellow at the university’s Neil D. Levin Graduate Institute of International Relations and Commerce, where he served as founding president from 2002 to 2011. He wrote You Should Have Been Here Yesterday, a book chronicling the growth of television news.
Born in Chicago in 1939, Utley was the son of Clifton and Frayn Utley, two of the city’s most distinguished news commentators in print, on radio and on television in its earliest years. His first job in journalism was at the Sun-Times. A graduate of Westtown School and Carleton College, he spent a year studying Eastern European affairs at the Free University of West Berlin after serving in the U.S. Army.
Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Gertje R. Utley, two brothers, David Utley of Madison, Wisconsin, and Jonathan Utley of Chicago, four nephews, a niece and three godchildren. Arrangements for a memorial service are pending.