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Betty Kennedy, reporter and panellist

She brought a feminine point of view to CBC-TV's Front Page Challenge, and she was a formidable reporter, too. Born and raised in Ottawa, Betty Kennedy honed her journalistic skills as a reporter for the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. Her foray into broadcasting came "quite by accident" when a strike closed down the Citizen, she recalls in this 1965 CBC TV interview with Elwood Glover.
• Betty Kennedy married her first husband, Gerhard Kennedy, in 1948. They had four children. After her husband's death from cancer in 1975, Kennedy married G. Allan Burton, head of Simpson's department stores, in 1976.

• In 1959 she began hosting a radio program called the Betty Kennedy Show. It was a popular daily, afternoon program on CFRB radio station in Toronto. During its 27-year run, Kennedy interviewed some 25,000 guests -- everyone from Pierre Trudeau to Debbie Reynolds.

• During an interview for the Betty Kennedy Show, the eccentric architect and philosopher Buckminster Fuller told Kennedy: "I don't think I recall a conversation where anybody has been quite as logically sensitive as you are about these questions you ask."

• Kennedy gained greater popularity when she replaced actress Toby Robins on CBC TV's Front Page Challenge in 1962. In Alex Barris's book Front Page Challenge, producer Don Brown said Kennedy was the obvious choice to replace Robins. "She has class. She's a very experienced journalist. She brought dignity, a femininity, a cool, controlled intelligence." Kennedy remained a panellist for the program until the show's cancellation in 1995.

• In 1991, Kennedy was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
• Kennedy wrote two books, Hurricane Hazel (1979) and Gerhard: A Love Story (1976). Gerhard was written in memory of her first husband, businessman Gerhard Kennedy.

• In June 2000, Kennedy was appointed to the Canadian Senate but retired in January 2001.

Medium: Television
Program: Luncheon Date
Broadcast Date: June 28, 1965
Guest(s): Betty Kennedy
Host: Elwood Glover
Duration: 11:49

Last updated: February 21, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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