1941 - early 1942: Washington, USA
Newman worked initially for the wire services, first the International News Service (as a copy boy, mostly in the Senate) and then the United Press. On the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Sunday December 7 1941, he heard the news during a radio concert. When he rang the office asking if he should come in, "Hell yes!" came the reply. He took dictation for 12 hours as the United Press reporters phoned in their stories.
1942 - 1945: Naval Service during World War II
Newman joined the U.S. Navy as an ensign in 1942, shortly after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served in a non-combat role as a communications officer in Trinidad (1942-1944) and then at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (1944-1945). During the war and met Rigel Grell of London. The two were married on August 14, 1944, and had a daughter, Nancy.
1945 - 1949: Washington, USA
Following the war, Newman worked as a reporter for the United Press (1945-1946), mostly reporting about the State Department, before moving to CBS News (Radio) (1947-1949) to act as assistant to Eric Sevareid.
Newman moved to London as a freelance journalist. In 1951, he took a job with the European Recovery Program (the Marshall Plan) before joining NBC in 1952 as a reporter in the London bureau. With his trademark wry humor, Newman said he benefited when the public mistook him for Edward R. Murrow, beloved by the British for his wartime dispatches for CBS. After all, both Americans were tall, dark-haired and answered to “Ed.”
Newman was named London bureau chief in 1956, then served stints in Rome and Paris before returning to the U.S. in 1961, the year he won the Overseas Press Club award for foreign news. He served briefly as news anchor for the “Today” show in 1961 but was never groomed to become host of the popular morning program.
He lacked the movie-star looks that the television industry increasingly prized. The book jacket of “Strictly Speaking” repeated colleagues’ quips that Newman had “the face of a baseball umpire” and the voice of a “muffled foghorn.”
In a crisis, however, NBC often turned to the veteran newsman. He helped the network report the shootings of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., George Wallace, Robert Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
Mr. Newman retired after more than 30 years with NBC. In 2007 he and his wife moved to England to be closer to their daughter.
Edwin Newman, the genteelly rumpled, genially grumpy NBC newsman who was equally famous as a stalwart defender of the honor of English, died in Oxford, England. He was 91.