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Happy Birthday To Westport'’s Phil Donahue

Phil Donahue turns 80 on Monday.
Phil Donahue turns 80 on Monday. Photo Credit:

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Happy birthday to Westport’s Phil Donahue!

Phillip John Donahue, who has owned a home in Westport, turns 80 on Monday. The media personality, writer, and producer was born Dec. 21, 1935, in Cleveland.

Donahue began his career in 1957 as a production assistant at KYW radio and television in Cleveland and became program director for WABJ radio in Adrian, Mich.

He moved on to become a stringer for the "CBS Evening News" and later an anchor of the morning newscast at WHIO-TV in Dayton, Ohio.

He is best known as the creator and host of "The Phil Donahue Show." The television program was the first talk show format that included audience participation. The show had a 29-year run on national television that began in Dayton and ended in New York City in 1996. In 1996, he was ranked #42 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.

His shows often focused on issues that divide liberals and conservatives in the United States, such as abortion, consumer protection, civil rights and war issues.

He was awarded nine Emmy Awards during his broadcasting career and was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame on Nov. 20, 1993.

He served as co-director for the feature documentary film "Body of War" and the film was named as one of fifteen documentaries to be in consideration for an Oscar nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in November 2007.

He also briefly hosted a talk show on MSNBC from July 2002 to March 2003.

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