Lester Holt Biography

(Journalist and News Anchor for ‘NBC Nightly News’ and ‘Dateline NBC’)

Birthday: March 8, 1959 (Pisces)

Born In: Marin County, California, United States

Lester Holt is an American news anchor and journalist, best known for hosting the news show NBC Nightly News. Though he had joined the California State University, Sacramento, he later dropped out to join a local radio station in San Francisco. Lester was initially a radio DJ. He then became a reporter for WCBS-TV in 1981. After working with CBS and its affiliate stations, such as KNXT and WBBM-TV, for 19 years, he joined MSNBC in 2000. He initially became a substitute anchor on NBC Nightly News. However, in 2015, he replaced Brian Williams as the anchor of the weekday edition of the program, thus becoming the first African–American to host a weekday nightly news program. Over the years, he has hosted programs such as Today and Dateline and been part of screen projects such as 30 Rock and Fugitive. He has also won honorary degrees and various other recognitions. He currently stays in Manhattan with his wife. He has two sons who are doing quite well in their respective lives.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Lester Don Holt, Jr.

Age: 65 Years, 65 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Carol Hagen (m. 1982)

father: Lester Holt Sr.

mother: June Holt

children: Cameron Holt, Stefan Holt

Born Country: United States

TV Anchors Journalists

Height: 6'2" (188 cm), 6'2" Males

Ancestry: Indian American, British American, Jamaican American

Notable Alumni: Cordova High School

U.S. State: California

More Facts

education: Cordova High School

awards: 2012;2011 · Today - Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Morning Program
2014 · NBC Nightly News - News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story in a Newscast
2014; 2009 · NBC News Special - News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story – Long Form

2018 · Barack Obama: The Reality of Hope - News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Edited Interview
Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award Special Cit

Childhood & Early Life

Lester Holt was born Lester Don Holt, Jr., on March 8, 1959, in Marin County, near San Francisco, California, U.S., to Lester Don Holt, Sr. and June (nee DeRozario).

He was the youngest child of his parents and had three siblings. He has Jamaican roots, as his paternal grandparents were from Jamaica, and his maternal grandfather was the son of a White Jamaican mother from England and an Indo-Jamaican father from Calcutta, India.

Lester joined Cordova High School in Rancho Cordova and graduated in 1977. He then joined the California State University, Sacramento, with the intention of majoring in government.

However, in 1979, he dropped out and joined a local radio station in San Francisco.

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Lester Holt’s first radio job was as a DJ at a Country and Western radio station. In 1981, Lester joined WCBS-TV in New York City, as a reporter. The following year, he became a weekend anchor/reporter on KNXT, a TV station affiliated with CBS, in Los Angeles.

In 1983, he went back to WCBS-TV as weekend anchor/reporter. In 1986, he joined the CBS station WBBM-TV, Chicago, as an evening anchor. He had a 14-year-long stint with the station (till 2000), throughout which he hosted the channel’s evening news. Lester also reported from chaotic spots around the world, such as Ireland, Somalia, Iraq, Northern El Salvador, and Haiti.

In 2000, after a 19-year stint with CBS, he quit the network and joined MSNBC. Over the years, he took up crucial duties at NBC News, eventually becoming a substitute anchor for Today and NBC Nightly News. Lester co-anchored Weekend Today after the show’s previous co-anchor, David Bloom, passed away.

Till 2005, Lester hosted a 2-hour-long daily news program on MSNBC. On May 9, 2007, he was made the full-time anchor of the weekend version of NBC Nightly News. His stint on the show lasted for 8 years (till 2015).

In 2013, Lester filled in for Brian Williams as a weekday anchor. Back then, Brian had apparently taken a long medical leave for a knee replacement surgery. In February 2015, after Brian was suspended for exaggerating a story on the Iraq War, Lester took over as the interim anchor of the weekday edition of NBC Nightly News. In June that year, his position was made permanent. With this, Lester became the first African–American solo anchor of a weekday nightly newscast.

Lester has also been the anchor of the NBC program Dateline (since 2006). He has also hosted the show’s new version on Investigation Discovery, titled Dateline on ID.

Lester has also presented a TV special for The History Channel, which narrated various conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 tragedy. He has also been a sports reporter for NBC Sports, covering the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing.

In 2016, Lester was a moderator of the presidential debates. In May the following year, Lester interviewed President Donald Trump. When he had moderated the presidential debate in 2016, Lester was a Republican. However, Lester became politically independent in 2018.

Lester Holt is all set to moderate a town hall with Joe Biden for NBC News in Miami on October 5, 2020.

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Other Pursuits

Lester Holt has also appeared in cameo roles in many films, such as The Fugitive (1993); its sequel, U.S. Marshals (1998); and Primal Fear (1996). He has also appeared in guest roles in TV series such as Early Edition (1997–1999) and House of Cards (2015).

He has appeared as himself in episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Due South, Early Edition, and Warehouse 13. He has also been seen in an episode of the sitcom 30 Rock, titled Cleveland.

Lester also did a voice-over in an episode of 30 Rock, titled Sandwich Day. He announced the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the USA Network in the years 2006, 2007, and 2008.

In 2008, he was featured as a narrator in a Sci-Fi Channel documentary titled Mystery of the Crystal Skulls. Lester has also been featured in the magazine Making Music.

On May 31, 2020, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lester Holt delivered a virtual commencement speech for Rutgers University’s 254th graduating class.

Awards and Recognitions

Lester Holt has won several recognitions and awards, such as the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for CBS's 48 Hours: No Place Like Home (1990), the Alan B. DuMont Broadcaster of the Year from the Montclair State University (2016), the NABJ Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists (2016), and the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism (2019).

He has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Pepperdine University (2012); California State University, Sacramento (2015); and Rutgers University (2020).

On October 28, 2015, Lester became part of the California Hall of Fame.

Personal Life

Lester Holt got married to Carol Hagen in 1982. The couple has two sons, Stefan and Cameron. Lester and Carol now live in Manhattan. Carol is a certified real-estate salesperson and has also worked as a flight attendant in the past.

Lester and Carol first met in 1980, when Lester was studying at the California State University. Apparently, when Lester was about to go on a date with Carol, he was asked by his radio network to report a forest fire. Lester and Carol thus both went to the forest fire, while he reported from the spot.

Stefan graduated from Pepperdine University in 2009 and followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a news anchor. Cameron is a Stanford graduate and currently works with Morgan Stanley.

Lester loves playing bass guitar. He is also a frequent visitor of New York’s Manhattan Church of Christ.

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