Robert NovakColumnist / TV Personality
Born: 26 February 1931
Died: 18 August 2009 (brain cancer)
Birthplace: Joliet, Illinois
Best known as: Political columnist and former co-host of TV's Crossfire
Newspaper columnist Robert Novak was an outspoken political commentator best known for co-hosting the rancorous political talk show Crossfire on CNN from 1980 to 2005. Novak began writing for local newspapers while attending the University of Illinois, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1952. After serving in the army during the Korean War he became a reporter for the Associated Press and then joined the Washington bureau of The Wall Street Journal. In 1963 he and fellow reporter Rowland Evans began writing the political column Inside Report, and they later created the Evans-Novak Political Report, a subscription newsletter with political news, gossip, and other "insider" fare. Long known as a political conservative, Novak became a more visible and strident voice for the right wing when he began co-hosting Crossfire in 1980. He later appeared on the similar shows like The Capital Gang and Inside Politics. Novak became the subject of a heated political controversy when he revealed the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame in a 2003 column. Critics charged that Novak had "outed" Plame at the behest of Karl Rove or other advisors of George W. Bush who wanted to punish her husband, Joseph Wilson, for saying that Bush had twisted intelligence reports to justify invading Iraq. Novak wrote several books with Evans, including Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power (1966), Nixon in the White House: The Frustration of Power (1971), and The Reagan Revolution (1981). Novak retired in 2008 after announcing he had a malignant brain tumor, and died the next year.
Extra credit: Novak was nicknamed The Prince of Darkness "for his ability to find inside information and put it to maximum effect," according to the Sun-Times... He was suspended by CNN in August 2005 after he cursed and walked off the set of the the show Inside Politics when fellow political commentator James Carville needled him with the comment, "He's got to show these right-wingers that he's got a backbone, you know"... Novak left CNN to work at Fox News in 2005... Novak was born to a Jewish family, but converted to Roman Catholicism in 1998, at age 67... Rowland Evans retired from the Inside Report column in 1993 and died in 2001... Novak was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army; in a 2003 column he described himself as "a Korean War-vintage Army officer (non-combat)."
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