Mostly Credited As: John Cameron Swayze
Birth Name: John Cameron Swayze
Date Of Birth: April 04, 1906 (Age 89)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Wichita, Kansas
Date Of Death: August 15, 1995
Cause Of Death: Natural Causes (Sarasota, Florida)
The son of a wholesale drug salesman, Cameron first sought to make his way as an actor, but his move to Broadway in 1929 was derailed by the scarcity of acting roles following Wall Street's stock market crash. He returned to the Midwest and hired on with the Kansas City Journal Post as a reporter. From there, Swayze graduated to radio doing news updates for Kansas City's KMBC in 1940 and, reportedly, an experimental early television newscast. Four years later, Swayze went further west, to Los Angeles and Hollywood, where NBC hired him for its western news division before moving him to its New York news operation in 1947. At the same time, Swayze proposed and got a radio quiz program, Who Said That? But NBC had other plans for him, too, and naming Swayze to host their national political convention coverage---the first ever on television. NBC and the public liked what they saw, and Swayze was picked in 1949 to host NBC's first television newscast, the fifteen-minute Camel News Caravan. He read items from the news wires and periodically interviewed newsmakers, but he's remembered best for his two breezy catch-phrases: "Let's go hopscotching around the world for headlines," and his somewhat cartoonish sign-off: "That's the story, folks---glad we could get together." But in time Swayze's almost manic style seemed frivolous compared to his CBS rival, Douglas Edwards with the News, which Swayze once out-rated but whose anchor sounded sober and no-nonsense. By 1956, Swayze had fallen out of favour and was dismissed in favour of a new anchor team, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. In very short order, The Huntley-Brinkley Report became the nation's top-rated television newscast, ultimately pushing Edwards out of the anchor chair in 1962 in favour of Walter Cronkite. By that time, Swayze---despite a brief turn anchoring an evening newscast for ABC---was more familiar for a series of commercials he did for Timex. Again, his flair for writing or handling catchphrases banked him: "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking" ended up living even longer than hopscotching around the world for headlines did, as Swayze appeared in Timex spots that amounted to mock newscasts before delivering the catch-phrase at the end of the spots. Swayze did the Timex spots for over two decades. He was satirised easily enough himself, perhaps most memorably by rock and roll comics Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman, who first "break-in" novelty hit (mock newscasts spliced with bits of current rock and roll hits), "The Flying Saucer," satirised him as reporter John Cameron Cameron (played by Goodman). John Cameron Swayze bears no relation to the acting Swayzes from Texas, Patrick and Don. But he made periodic cameos in films, beginning with 1957's A Face in the Crowd. He also hosted and narrated a short-lived television drama series, The Armstrong Circle Theater, after leaving NBC News. John Cameron Swayze had two sons, one of which bears his name -- and anchors weekend news on WCBS Newsradio 880 in New York (under the name Cameron Swayze).