Sander Vanocur, one of television’s pioneering news anchors and longtime Montecito resident, died on September 16 at age 91. Vanocur was among the first wave of reporters to transition from print news to television, and he did so at a time when television had yet to achieve its ascendancy.
Among Vanocur’s many professional distinctions was being placed on President Richard Nixon’s quasi-official Enemies List. During the 1960 presidential debate between Nixon and John Kennedy, Vanocur asked Nixon to respond to Dwight Eisenhower’s remark that if he had a week, he might be able to think of a specific idea Nixon had suggested while vice president that Eisenhower had implemented during his eight years in office. Less famously, Vanocur covered the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War for NBC and then later for ABC.
With younger reporters in Santa Barbara, Vanocur was unfailingly generous with encouragement and never in short supply with war stories.