Jim Hartz Dies: ‘Today’ Show Host With Barbara Walters In Mid-’70s Was 82

Jim Hartzwho hosted today Show with Barbara Walters in the mid-1970s, died on April 17 in Fairfax County, VA. He was 82 years old and his wife, Alexandra Dixon, passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to Hertz.

Hartz was in the middle of a career when he joined TODAY, deploying a low-key style that matched the energy Walters put forth. He was 34 years old and replaced Frank McGee, who died at the age of 58. Hertz was a reporter for WNBC, covering local stories when she got permission.

he joined today and covered the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, the end of the Vietnam War, and the American Bicentenary Year as part of the morning show.

Hertz was born on February 3, 1940 in Tulsa, Okla., to the Rev. Marvin Dillard was the fifth child of Hertz, an Assembly of God minister, and Helen Elvira (Potter) Hertz.

After college, he was hired as a reporter for KOTV in Tulsa and hosted the channel’s morning show “Sun Up”. He moved on there as news director, then was tapped by NBC in New York.

He became the anchor of the evening news broadcast on the network’s flagship local station, WNBC. until 1974, today was calling, and he occupied the coveted position next to Walters.

By 1976, Walters had gone on to become ABC’s evening news coordinator, and Jane Pauley was inducted. His low-key style was seen by the executives as similar to that of Hertz, and was determined to bring Tom Brokaw in to balance.

Hertz then had a short stint as a “roving host” for TODAY, but then moved to Washington in 1976 as a news anchor at NBC affiliate WRC. He later worked with PBS, co-hosting “Over Easy,” a celebrity talk show, with actress Mary Martin, and “Innovation,” a weekly science show.

In the early 1990s, Hartz hosted “Asia Now” for PBS, a joint production with Japan’s NHK Public Broadcasting. Two years later, he became chairman of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission, which oversees the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Okla.

Survivors include his wife, Alexandra Dixon, two daughters, Jana Hertz Maher and Nancy Hertz Cole, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A son, John Michelle Hertz, died in 2015.