The younger Palmer graduated from Northwestern University in 1958 and received a master’s degree in 1959 from Columbia University’s journalism school. After brief Army service, he began his broadcasting career in 1960 at WSB-TV in Atlanta. He joined NBC News in Chicago in 1963.
In 1982, he married Nancy Doyle, a production assistant with NBC’s “Nightly News” show. Besides his wife, of Washington, survivors include three daughters, Molly Cowan of Santa Monica, Calif., Carter Palmer of West Hollywood, Calif., and Hope Palmer of Washington; and a sister.
In 1989, in one of the upheavals that periodically afflict morning TV, NBC ousted Mr. Palmer from his news anchor perch on “Today” in favor of Deborah Norville. He moved to “NBC News at Sunrise,” then left to broadcast for other media outlets.
After the announcement in 1994 that he was rejoining NBC to be a Washington-based network correspondent, Mr. Palmer appeared in the newsroom. The applause, of the kind that often goes unheard until the day of departure, lasted for quite some time.
“It was a long, long, long ovation,” he said later, “and I found it was just a little difficult when I tried to speak.”
He retired from NBC in 2002. But not retiring entirely, he hosted shows on Retirement Living TV, a cable network. He also was a volunteer reader and director at Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic of Metropolitan Washington and vice president of the board of trustees at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, a historic residence in the District.
He was, the Post television columnist John Carmody once wrote, “one of the nice guys” in TV news.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported the date when American hostages were released from Iran in 1981. It was Jan. 20, not Jan. 21.