Roger Mudd, the anchorman who delivered the news and narrated documentaries with an urbane edge for three decades on CBS, NBC and PBS and conducted a 1979 interview that undermined the presidential hopes of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, died on Tuesday at his home in McLean, Va. He was 93.
The cause was kidney failure, his son Matthew said.
To anyone who regarded anchors as mere celebrities who read the news, Mr. Mudd was an exception: an experienced reporter who covered Congress and politics and delivered award-winning reports in a smooth mid-Atlantic baritone with erudition, authority and touches of sardonic humor.
He worked for CBS from 1961 to 1980 as a Washington correspondent and weekend anchor and was being groomed to succeed Walter Cronkite on the “CBS Evening News.” When the network named Dan Rather instead, a surprised and disappointed Mr. Mudd resigned.
CBS interview with Senator Kennedy on Nov. 4, 1979, days before the senator began his campaign to wrest the Democratic presidential nomination from the incumbent, Jimmy Carter. Mr. Kennedy, heir to the political legacies of his assassinated brothers, had a 2-to-1 lead in the polls when he faced Mr. Mudd and a prime-time national audience.
“Why do you want to be president?” Mr. Mudd began.
Mr. Kennedy hesitated, apparently caught off guard.
“Well, I’m — were I to — to make the, the announcement and to run, the reasons that I would run is because I have a great belief in this country,” he stammered.
was wounded before it began and never recovered.
Mr. Mudd, who won a Peabody Award for the interview, also narrated “The Selling of the Pentagon,” a 1971 documentary that exposed a $190 million public relations campaign by the Defense Department that included junkets for industrialists and television propaganda.
Roger Harrison Mudd was born in Washington on Feb. 9, 1928, to John and Irma (Harrison) Mudd. His father was a mapmaker for the U.S. Geological Survey, his mother a nurse. An ancestor was Samuel A. Mudd, a doctor who went to prison for treating John Wilkes Booth for the broken leg he suffered jumping to the stage of Ford’s Theater after shooting Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, Mr. Mudd joined the Army in 1945. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Washington and Lee in 1950 and a master’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1953. He began in journalism in 1953 as a reporter for The News Leader of Richmond, Va., and soon became news director of the newspaper’s radio station, WRNL.