The Washington Post

Charles N. Quinn, NBC news correspondent

Correction: An earlier version of this incorrectly reported his city of residence as Cambridge, Mass. He lived in Cambridge, Md.

Charles N. Quinn, an NBC News correspondent who covered the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.) and the civil rights movement, died July 7 at his home in Cambridge, Md. He was 82.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his daughter Diana Quinn.

Mr. Quinn joined NBC News in 1962 as a general assignment television reporter. He was following Kennedy’s presidential primary campaign in California when the candidate was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968.

He was one of the first reporters on the scene. “He’s lying here on the floor. Senator Kennedy has been shot. He’s been shot,” Quinn told audiences. “There’s blood on the floor.”

He covered major news stories of the 1960s, including the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, and received a 1963 Emmy Award for a news documentary program on hunger in the United States that he helped produce for the Huntley-Brinkley Report.

In the early 1970s, Mr. Quinn served as NBC’s Rome bureau chief before returning to Washington to work as the network’s Pentagon correspondent. In 1978, he became the managing editor and chief correspondent of the network’s radio news bureau in Washington.

After leaving NBC in 1980, he briefly worked as a correspondent for the old Independent Network News before he was hired to do public relations work for the American Petroleum Institute in 1981. He retired after a decade.

Charles Nicholas Quinn was born in Utica, N.Y. He was a 1951 graduate of Cornell University and received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1954.

From 1951 to 1953, he was an Army paratrooper.

He moved to Cambridge from Alexandria in 2003. He was a past member of the National Press Club board of governors.

His marriage to the former Ella Blum ended in divorce. Survivors include his companion, Judy Zelsman of Cambridge; three children from his marriage, Diana Quinn of Washington, David Quinn of Carnation, Wash., and Jane Brack of Woodbridge; and two grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough

Most Read

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.