Bernard Shaw, Former Lead CNN News Anchor, Dead at 82

Bernard Shaw
Erik S. Lesser/Liaison/Getty Images

The journalist was the first-ever chief anchor for CNN, and helped lead breaking news coverage for over 20 years.

Bernard Shaw, CNN's first chief anchor when it launched on June 1, 1980, has died. Shaw died Wednesday of pneumonia unrelated to COVID-19, his family announced in a statement to the network provided by former CNN CEO Tom Johnson. He was 82. 

"Even after he left CNN, Bernie remained a close member of our CNN family providing our viewers with context about historic events as recently as last year," Chris Licht, CNN Chairman and CEO, said in a statement on Thursday. "The condolences of all of us at CNN go out to his wife Linda and his children."

According to his biography on CNN's website, the veteran broadcast television journalist covered some of the pivotal stories of the last three decades, including the student uprising in Tiananmen Square in 1989, the death of Princess Diana in 1997 and the 2000 presidential race. He was dubbed one of the "Boys of Baghdad," a group of reporters who chronicled the start of the Persian Gulf War beginning on Jan. 16, 1991, from a hotel room in Iraq alongside colleagues Peter Arnett and John Holliman. 

Shaw has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including becoming the first non-German presented with the Eduard Rhein Foundation’s Cultural Journalistic Award, being inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, earning the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement Award in Broadcasting and the Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

He retired from CNN after more than 20 years on Feb. 28, 2001.

Funeral services for Shaw will be closed to family and invited guests only, with a public memorial service planned at a later time, his family said.

Along with a request for complete privacy, the family asked that donations be made to the Bernard Shaw Scholarship Fund at the University of Chicago in lieu of flowers.