Remembering Roger Mudd: Legendary Journalist and Champion for Historic Preservation
(Washington, D.C.) — The American Battlefield Trust joins the broader history community in mourning the passing of Roger H. Mudd on March 9, 2021, at the age of 93. In addition to his recognizable role as a decades-long fixture in network TV news, Mudd was a devoted lover of history who served on the Board of Trustees of the Civil War Trust, a predecessor organization to the American Battlefield Trust.
“Roger was a down to earth guy who cared about our mission and worked to advance it,” remembered Trust President Emeritus Jim Lighthizer, who served alongside Mudd on the board of trustees in the late 1990s before taking on an executive role. “He was a gentleman in every way, with natural charisma and a love for storytelling that translated off the screen and into real life.”
Born in Washington, D.C., on February 9, 1928, Mudd graduated from high school in 1945 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Following his military service, he studied history extensively, receiving a bachelor’s degree in history from Washington and Lee University and a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With a solid grounding in critical thinking and research, Mudd pursued a career in journalism. Following success in both newspaper and radio reporting in Richmond, Va., Mudd returned to Washington to begin a career in television. He spent nearly 30 years reporting on Capitol Hill, including tenures as co-anchor of the “NBC Nightly News” and co-moderator of “Meet the Press.” Although the recipient of five Emmy Awards and a George Foster Peabody Award, Mudd is often remembered for his interview with presidential candidate Edward Kennedy, in which the latter inarticulately answered the query “Why do you want to be president?” derailing his campaign.
Yet, the history buff in Mudd would not be stifled. By 1995, he became the first on-air anchor for The History Channel and continued in the role until retiring in 2004. While there, he brought to life documentaries that ran the gamut — looking to America’s founders, the U.S. Marines, and the sinking of the Andrea Doria. His last major project, the “Save Our History” series, exposed the American public to at-risk historic sites across the nation.
In the late 1990s, Mudd took a vested interest in battlefield preservation and served on the Board of the Civil War Trust, a predecessor organization of the American Battlefield Trust. Although his term on the Board of Trustees was brief, he transitioned into a role on the National Advisory Board in 2000. The impact of his time with the organization continues to echo through an ongoing relationship with History.™
The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 53,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.