Rather spent 24 years anchoring the CBS Evening News before his unceremonious departure from the network in 2005. These days he anchor Dan Rather Reports on HDNet.
Rather earned a journalism degree and served as a Marine before starting off his career as a reporter for the Associated Press. He transitioned to TV a few years later, earning his big break when he reported on 1961's Hurricane Carla for a Houston's CBS affiliate: Ever the drama queen, Rather tethered himself to a tree during the storm so he could continue his reporting. The move attracted the attention of execs at CBS headquarters in New York and Rather was almost immediately offered a job covering national news. He went on to serve as the network's White House correspondent during Watergate, famously sparring with President Nixon at a 1974 press conference. In 1981, Rather landed the spot of anchor of the CBS Evening News following the retirement of Walter Cronkite, negotiating an unprecedented 10-year, $23 million pay package.
Whatever anxiety Rather had during his early days quickly dissipated as his down-home manner charmed audiences and made the CBS Evening News the highest-rated evening news broadcast by the mid-'80s. But his time at the top was short-lived. By the early '90s, the show had slipped to third place behind Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings, and CBS explored a range of other formats to reinvigorate the broadcast, such as pairing him up with Connie Chung, a strategy that proved ineffective. Rather continued to plod along until he became embroiled in scandal in 2005 involving a phony story about George Bush, which led to his eventual departure from CBS a year later. He now hosts a show called Dan Rather Reports on Mark Cuban's lightly-viewed cable channel HDNet. [Image via Getty]