As the host of NBC’s flagship morning program since its 1951 debut, the avuncular Garroway helped invent the TV talk show. He combined an amiable, conversational tone with a professorial credibility. Personal and professional demons led Garroway to resign after a decade at the helm of Today, but the format he helped pioneer remains a cornerstone of the network television infrastructure to this day.
Garroway also frequently shared hosting duties with a chimpanzee by the name of J. Fred Muggs. Fifty years later, this would inspire Jeff Zucker’s unsuccessful experiment of naming a Capuchin monkey as NBC’s head of programming development. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: John Cho, forward-flasher (40); Eddie Cibrian, playboy (39); Abby Elliot, second-generation SNLer (25); Laurie Metcalf, favorite aunt (57); Missy Peregrym, reaper’s squeeze (30); Joan Van Ark, Knot’s lander (69).