Video: MTP remembers former moderator Bill Monroe

  1. Transcript of: MTP remembers former moderator Bill Monroe

    MR. GREGORY: OK. All right, I, I got to -- I got to leave, I got to leave it there. Thank you all very much. I wanted to save a little time because before we go we do want to remember NBC newsman and former moderator of MEET THE PRESS , Bill Monroe , who died this week at the age of 90. He played a key role in the history of this program. A guest moderator and panelist, questioning newsmaker guests here in the late 1960s and early '70s, Monroe became the fourth permanent moderator in November of 1975 ...

    Mr. BILL MONROE: Our guest today on MEET THE PRESS ...

    MR. GREGORY: ...and quickly gained a reputation for asking the tough questions.

    MR. MONROE: Is that a proper minimum moral standard dictated by the Bible to apply to candidates?

    Can't you have affirmative action without quotas and without preference?

    Why would not Iran improve its position before world public opinion if the hostages were untied and they were permitted to be seen by neutral observers?

    MR. GREGORY: Over his decade in the moderator's chair, Monroe put those questions to heads of state, political power players, and newsmakers the world over. But it was his 1980 interview with President Jimmy Carter here that had international repercussions.

    MR. MONROE: Mr. President, assuming the Soviets do not pull out of Afghanistan anytime soon, do you favor the U.S. participating in the Moscow Olympics . And if not, what are the alternatives?

    PRES. JIMMY CARTER: No. Neither I nor the American people would support the sending of an American team to Moscow with Soviet invasion troops in Afghanistan .

    MR. GREGORY: Above all, it was his character and commitment to his craft that defined Monroe 's career.

    MR. MARVIN KALB: Every Sunday with Bill has been a lesson in personal integrity and the highest standards of professional journalism. Good luck, Bill .

    MR. MONROE: Thank you, sir.

    MR. GREGORY: And we thank him for all his many contributions to this program. Bill Monroe retired from NBC News in 1986 . He died peacefully at a nursing home in Maryland on Thursday. He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers. That is all for today. We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's MEET THE PRESS .

updated 2/20/2011 12:29:51 PM ET 2011-02-20T17:29:51

Meet the Press
December 5, 1971: Golda Meir, prime minister of Israel, appears on “Meet the Press” with moderator Bill Monroe to discuss the continuing instability in the Middle East and the prospect of meeting and negotiating with Egypt’s leaders.

Former NBC Newsman Bill Monroe — who moderated "Meet the Press" for nearly a decade (November 16, 1975 to September 9, 1984) — passed away February 17, 2011, at the age of 90.

In his nine years as moderator, Monroe interviewed such notable figures as  PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and President Jimmy Carter. Before serving as the fourth moderator of the program, Monroe regularly appeared on Meet the Press as a weekly panelist questioning newsmaker guests. He also served as Washington Bureau Chief for NBC News and frequently reported for The Today Show, conducting interviews and appearing in a segment he created that was devoted to airing viewers' letters. In 1972, he was awarded the prestigious Peabody Award - among television journalism's highest honors.

Video: Carter announces plans to boycott Olympics (on this page)

Monroe was well-known for his crusading television editorials urging an end to segregation, and at every step of his career worked to maintain his reputation as an unbiased journalist.

Video: Monroe questions Gov. Wallace on segregation (on this page)

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he attended Tulane University and was the first news director for WDSU-TV, his hometown NBC News affiliate. Monroe began his journalism career as a reporter for The States-Item (now The Times-Picayune) after serving in Italy during WWII.