Obit of the Day: Lived for (and Died on) Election Day
For most of the 1980s and 1990s Hal Bruno made sure that ABC news anchors had the information they needed to cover national elections, debates, and campaigns. Bruno and his staff were the “eyes and ears of Peter [Jennings] and [Ted] Koppel.” On television himself, hosting the weekly Hal Bruno’s Washington, he was also the moderator of the 1992 Vice Presidential debate between Senator Al Gore, Vice President Dan Quayle, and Admiral James Stockdale, running mate of Ross Perot. (The debate was well-known for Adm. Stockdale’s “opening statement”: “Who am I? Why am I here?” To be fair it was a rhetorical device but his delivery made it seem like a cry for help.)
A native of Chicago, Bruno attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he wrote for the student newspaper The Daily Illini. And they had once heck of staff: legendary movie critic Gene Shalit was editor-in-chief, political analyst Robert Novak covered sports, cartoons were sometimes drawn by Shel Silverstein, and they had two future Pulitzer Prize winners in the room, too, Hugh Hough and Bud Kamin. He ended up at the Chicago American and then was hired by Newsweek where he covered his first campaign: Kennedy-Nixon. In 1978 he headed to ABC where he spent the next 21 years working the political desk.
Outside of politics, Bruno’s strongest attachment was to firefighters. Since his childhood riding on the back of firetrucks in Chicago (no mention of whether this was done with permission, but it was Chicago in the 1930s, so it could go either way), Bruno had a fascination with the first responders. He served as a volunteer firefighter where he was for nearly sixty years, retiring in 2008 at the age of 80.
Bruno’s vocation and avocation collided on September 11, 2001 when he responded to the Pentagon fire and called in some of the first reporting of the tragedy.
In one the great coincidences that you find when dealing frequently with death, Hal Bruno died on election day, November 8, 2001 at the age of 83.
Additional source: abcnews.com
(h/t to lookhigh)
(Image of Bruno serving as Honorary Fire Chief of the D.C.F.D. courtesy of statter911.com)