IMAGE: Bill Beutel
AP file
Longtime ABC News anchor Bill Beutel, shown here in 1978, died Saturday.
updated 3/19/2006 9:42:36 AM ET 2006-03-19T14:42:36

Bill Beutel, the longtime television news anchor and host of the show that became ABC’s “Good Morning America,” has died, the network announced. He was 75.

Beutel, whose trademark signoff “Good luck and be well” closed WABC’s nightly local newscast for more than 30 years, died Saturday at his home in Pinehurst, N.C., the network said.

In 1975, Beutel hosted “AM America,” the network’s national morning news show.

He “proved you could be a tough newsman and a gentleman at the same time,” WABC president and general manager Dave Davis said Sunday in a statement. “He was never shrill, always measured, and universally respected — the original class act.”

Beutel, who won several Emmy awards and a Peabody award, began as a radio reporter in his hometown of Cleveland. He started working in television in 1962, appearing as a reporter for ABC national news and as an anchor for the local evening newscast.

After a stint as ABC’s London bureau chief, where he worked with a young Peter Jennings, Beutel returned to New York to man the local anchor desk in 1970.

He stepped down in 2001, continuing to report for the network for another two years. He reported frequently from overseas and, at age 70, traveled to cover the dangers surrounding the diamond trade in Sierra Leone.

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