PASSINGS: Garrick Utley

Garrick Utley, 74, a veteran TV journalist whose far-ranging career included anchoring duties as well as reporting from more than 70 countries, died of cancer Thursday in New York. NBC announced his death Friday morning.

Utley began at NBC News in 1963, and for three decades handled a wide variety of assignments. Early on, he reported from Vietnam on the escalating conflict. In later years, he moderated "Meet the Press."

In between, Utley anchored "Weekend Today" and the Sunday "Nightly News," as well as two newsmagazines in different decades, under four titles.

"I may have been the only person at NBC News who did every type of programming as host or anchor," he told the Associated Press in 1993, adding that his versatility may have led to being taken for granted by the network. "There's a risk in being the utility infielder."

That was shortly after he had left NBC to be the chief foreign correspondent for ABC News. From 1997 to 2002, he reported for CNN.

In recent years, he was a senior fellow and professor of broadcasting and journalism at the State University of New York, Oswego.

In 2000, he published a memoir, "You Should Have Been Here Yesterday: A Life Story in Television News."

A lanky 6-foot-6, Utley was known for his courtly and knowledgeable on-the-air manner. An opera buff, for a time he hosted PBS' "Live From the Met."

Born in Chicago on Nov. 19, 1939, Utley was the son of Clifton and Frayn Utley, who were newspaper, radio and TV journalists there. He graduated from Carleton College in 1961.

Utley was fluent in French, German and Spanish and also spoke Russian. His wife, Gertje, is an art historian.

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

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