About Matt Lauer
Born Matthew Todd Lauer on Dec. 30, 1957 in New York City, NY, Lauer grew up in Greenwich, CT, the son of a Jewish father, Robert Lauer, and Christian mother, Marilyn Kolmer, who split when Lauer was still very young. After high school, Lauer began attending Ohio University as a communications major in 1975. Four credits shy of graduating, however, Lauer left school to pursue a broadcasting internship. In 1979, Lauer began his news career at WOWK-TV in Huntington, WV, as a mid-day news producer. The following year, he became an on-air reporter for the station's 6 o'clock and 11 o'clock newscasts. Over the next several years, Lauer hosted a number of weekly information and talk programs in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, and Richmond. He went on to serve as host of "PM Magazine" (1976-1991) from 1980-86 and began working for ESPN in the mid 1980's. Relocating to New York in 1989, Lauer hosted a daily, three-hour, live interview program for WWOR-TV called "9 Broadcast Plaza" (1987-1991); Lauer remained on the program until 1991.
Out of work for more than a year, Lauer considered leaving television broadcasting altogether before getting a call from WNBC in New York. Hired by the network in 1992, Lauer's career began to take off. He became co-anchor of the weekday news show "Today in New York," alongside Jane Hanson. In 1993, Lauer also served as co-anchor of NBC's "News Channel 4/Live at Five" (1975- ) news broadcast with Sue Simmons and filled in as a substitute news anchor on "The Today Show" (NBC, 1952- ). Impressed by Lauer's on-camera persona, the network made Lauer the permanent news anchor on "Today" in 1994, succeeding Margaret Larson. While working as news anchor, Lauer often stepped in for hosts Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric. He also sat in for many shows, including as co-host of "Weekend Today" (NBC, 1987- ), for Ann Curry as anchor of "NBC News at Sunrise," (NBC, 1983-1999) and for Tom Brokaw on the "NBC Nightly News" (NBC, 1970- ). When Gumbel stepped down as co-host of "Today" in January of 1997, Lauer was asked to take his place. A highlight in Lauer's professional life, the promotion came at a heartbreaking time in Lauer's personal life, as his father, Robert, was dying of cancer. Maintaining an upbeat persona on-air despite his father's illness, Lauer remained dedicated to the program. His father passed away in April of 1997 - just months after Lauer took over as co-host.
Lauer's career, however, began to soar. Lauer's innate charisma and his sibling-like chemistry with co-host Katie Couric proved to be a successful pairing for "Today," making it the top-rated morning show among viewers. In his first year as co-host, Lauer was awarded his undergraduate degree from Ohio University. Counting his journalism experience as an independent study, the university awarded Lauer his final credits and asked him to serve as a guest speaker at the commencement ceremony that year. While hosting "Today", Lauer embarked on a series of annual segment reports titled "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" Broadcasting live from over 25 different locations, Lauer reported from places as varied as the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall in China, India's Taj Mahal, and Mount Everest. In 1998, Lauer began anchoring the documentary series "Headliners and Legends" (1998- ) for MSNBC, a "Biography"-esque show detailing the careers and lives of people of interest.
With a disarming demeanor and a tendency towards giving his guests the benefit of the doubt, Lauer conducted a number of groundbreaking interviews during his tenure on "Today." Landing the first interview with Hillary Rodham Clinton after the Lewinsky scandal broke, Lauer sat down with the First Lady for an 18-minute-long live conversation in 1998, which Lauer felt was beneficial to both he and the First Lady. In other interviews, however, Lauer's forthright approach brought about altercation. When Lauer confronted Monica Lewinsky about the repercussions of her affair with President Clinton, Lewinsky became uncomfortable and distraught and later canceled the rest of the press tour for her book, Monica's Story.
In 2005, Lauer found himself in his most famous on-air exchange - a heated debate with actor Tom Cruise during the course of an interview that quickly became a pop cultural joke at Cruise's expense. Though the actor was supposed to be promoting his film "War of the Worlds" (2005), the pair got into a heated debate about Cruise's opposition to psychiatry and medication for treating depression. Wherein Cruise accused Lauer of being ignorant of the topic at hand and called the "Today" host "glib" (much to the delight of t-shirt makers who promptly plastered "You're glib, Matt" on apparel nationwide), Lauer stood up to the actor's pronouncements, questioning Cruise's opinions on a medical subject he knew nothing about (depression and anti-depressants). Making national headlines, the interview sparked a firestorm of controversy for Cruise concerning his conduct and personal attack on Lauer. The interview only helped Lauer, boosting his credibility and his ability to take an offensive stance against a celebrity. In April of 2006, Lauer announced that he had signed a contract with NBC to stay with the "Today" show until 2011, during which time, he would share a couch with his new co-host Meredith Vieira, formerly of "The View" (ABC, 1997- ) after Katie Couric's departure to CBS in 2006.
|Annette Roque. Began dating summer 1997; engaged May 1998; married Oct. 3, 1998; separated for several months in 2005; on Sept. 13, 2006, Roque filed a petition seeking a split from her husband, which she later withdrew|
|Kristen Gesswein. Together from c. 1989; briefly engaged in 1995-96; no longer together|
|Nancy Alspaugh. Married in 1981; divorced in 1988|
|Greenwich High School, Greenwich , Connecticut|
|Ohio University, Athens , Ohio|
|Appeared in a cameo in the comedy feature "Land of the Lost"|
|Made sitcom acting debut with a guest role on "Will & Grace"|
|Hosted the Discovery Channel special "Greatest American," which aired as part of Discovery's 20th anniversary|
|Began co-hosting NBC's live coverage of annual "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade"|
|Named co-anchor of "Today," replacing Bryant Gumbel|
|Acted as substitute host for Bryant Gumbel on "Today"|
|Named news anchor on NBC's "Today"|
|Signed with WNBC-TV, New York; served as local anchor on "Live at Five" and "Today in New York" until fall 1996|
|Co-hosted interview show "9 Broadcast Plaza" (WWOR-TV, New York); was fired|
|Hosted late-night talk show "Day's End" (ABC)|
|Hosted "Esquire: About Men, for Women" (Lifetime)|
|Co-hosted "Fame, Fortune & Romance" series (ABC)|
|Hosted "PM Magazine" in Richmond, VA (1980-81), Providence, RI (1982-84) and New York, NY (1985-86)|
|On-air debut as reporter, WOWK|
|Became producer of noon news (WOWK-TV, Huntington, WV)|