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Beloved Radio Broadcaster Paul Harvey Dies at 90

Paul Harvey's news items flowed seamlessly into ad messages.
Paul Harvey's news items flowed seamlessly into ad messages. (Fred Jewell - AP)
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After his military service, Paul Harvey Aurandt shortened his name to Paul Harvey and moved to Chicago, where he began doing his twice-daily, 15-minute news commentaries. In 1951, he persuaded an advertising agency to take the broadcast nationwide over a new network, ABC.

With his broadcast colleague Walter Cronkite, he was a runner-up in the 1969 Gallup Poll's choice of the most admired man in America.

In the 1960s, he editorialized against what he saw as a culture of permissiveness on college campuses and in the media and in support of the Vietnam War. As early as 1966, however, he asked that the troops be brought home. Perhaps his most famous broadcast occurred May 1, 1970, when he urged President Richard Nixon to reverse his decision to expand the war into Cambodia. Swayed by his son, a conscientious objector, he began by saying, "Mr. President, I love you . . . but you're wrong." He called on the president to stop the war.

His broadcast prompted a barrage of 24,000 letters and thousands of phone calls, including one from the White House.

A self-described "student of biographies," Mr. Harvey in 1976 inaugurated a five-minute daily broadcast called "The Rest of the Story." Recounting the lives of history-makers without revealing their identities until the end of his narrative, he reveled in quirky tidbits, coincidences and twists of fate.

Among the "Rest of the Story" items was the 13-year-old boy who received a cash gift from President Franklin Roosevelt and later led a socialist revolution (Fidel Castro) and the celebrated trial lawyer who never finished law school (Clarence Darrow). Most were written by Mr. Harvey's son, Paul Aurandt.

For his newscast, Mr. Harvey relied on what he called his "Aunt Betty" test. Betty was his sister-in-law, an "old-fashioned housewife" who lived in Missouri. If he decided that a story was too complicated or dull for Betty, he either rewrote or discarded it.

He wrote his own copy and insisted that he would not endorse a product that he did not believe in. He invented words that found their way into the vernacular, including "guesstimate," "Reaganomics," "bumpersnickers" and "skyjacker."

Mr. Harvey's wife, Lynne Cooper Harvey, died in 2008. He is survived by son Paul.

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