The Big 6-Oh: Jane Pauley
For most of the 1970s and 1980s, we woke up with Jane Pauley. As the cohost of NBC’s top-rated Today show from 1976 to 1989 — alongside first Tom Brokaw and later Bryant Gumbel — she was nearly as essential to America’s morning routine as a hot cup of coffee.
Her duties on Today may always define her career, but Pauley has stayed busy in the years since she left the morning chat world, winning an Emmy for her prime-time newsmagazine show Real Life with Jane Pauley, hosting an eponymous (though short-lived) daytime talk show and opening up about her battles with bipolar disorder in a 2004 memoir, Skywriting: A Life out of the Blue. She’s also kept busy at home, raising three children with her husband, "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau.
Last spring, she returned to the Today show as a recurring guest, contributing AARP-sponsored segments that profile people who are reinventing themselves after turning 50. She’s also AARP’s official "Your Life Calling" Ambassador, which means that — 30 years after her morning debut — she’s still waking us up, this time to the exciting possibilities that arrive later in life.