Franklin James Cook

New Book Sheds Light on CBS Anchor’s Suicide

In Grief, Media on October 22, 2008 at 4:16 pm

ORIGINAL ARTICLE — The New York Times has published a book review of a new biography, “CBS’s Don Hollenbeck: An Honest Reporter in the Age of McCarthyism.” Hollenbeck was a CBS television news anchor in 1954 when he died by suicide at the time he was under attack for his so-called Communist leanings.

Author Loren Ghiglione set out “to paint a fuller picture of Mr. Hollenbeck, and to explore the roots of contemporary media criticism.”

“I wanted to show that his life was a lot more complicated than the kind of victim portrayal that’s not only in that movie [“Good Night, and Good Luck,” the 2005 movie about McCarthyism] but in most of the memoirs.” Mr. Ghiglione said in an interview … Mr. Hollenbeck, who was married three times, was impulsive, prone to depression and drank excessively, all of which factored into his death. But he was also a thoughtful, erudite writer, talented enough to keep being hired elsewhere every time he burned a bridge.

The book is complimented by Hollenbeck’s daughter, who was nine years old at the time of her father’s death.

“Reading the book put it more in perspective than I had ever seen it before. If he had been a more stable man, he could have been more like a Cronkite or a Murrow. It was cut off too soon, and I’m sorry for that.

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