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Jim Hartz, former TODAY co-host and NBC newsman, dies at 82

Remembering the respected broadcaster who died at the age of 82 years old. 

Jim Hartz, a respected newsman who shared the TODAY anchor desk with Barbara Walters during the mid-1970s, has died at the age of 82.

The Tulsa-born broadcaster had a long career with NBC News, but was only with TODAY for two years.

Lew Wood, Gene Shalit, Jim Hartz and Barbara Walters made up the TODAY team in 1974. NBC

Still, he made an unforgettable impression during that time.  Hartz, known for his low timbre and laid-back style, became the youngest correspondent hired by NBC News when he joined WNBC-TV at the age of 24 in 1964.

Ten years later, following the death of TODAY co-host Frank McGee, Hartz filled the late anchor's spot next to Walters. 

Shortly after joining the show in August of 1974, Hartz, along with Walters and correspondent Tom Brokaw, covered the resignation of President Richard Nixon. 

During his time at TODAY, Hartz also covered the nation's bicentennial celebration, as well as the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

But as TODAY's Hoda Kotb noted while reflecting on Hartz Monday morning, his real love was reporting on NASA space launches. 

Jim Hartz Smiling
Jim Hartz made his mark on TODAY (1975).Bettmann Archive

His departure from the show in 1976 didn’t mark his last time on TODAY.

In January 2012, Hartz paid a visit to Studio 1A — alongside other famous faces who once sat at the news desk, including Walters, Brokaw, Hugh Downs, Jane Pauley, Katie Couric and more — to celebrate TODAY’s 60th anniversary. 

Barbara Walters and Jim Hartz during TODAY's 60th anniversary. Peter Kramer / NBC

In a 2019 interview with Tulsa World, Hartz noted that, had he followed the direction of a family member, he wouldn't have entered the news business at all.

“I was under a lot of pressure from one of my brothers to become a doctor," he told the publication. "It took me awhile to realize that’s probably not what I wanted to do."

That marked a decisions his future colleagues and viewers clearly appreciated.

Hartz is survived by his wife of Alexandra Dickson Hartz, his daughters, Jana Hartz Maher and Nancy Hartz Cole, as well as six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.