"People are pretty much alike. It's only that our differences are more susceptible to definition than our similarities." -- Linda Ellerbee
Linda Ellerbee (born August 15, 1944) is an American journalist who is most known for several jobs at NBC News, including Washington (DC) correspondent, host of the Nickelodeon network's Nick News, and reporter and co-anchor of NBC News Overnight, which was recognized by the jurors of the duPont Columbia Awards as "possibly the best written and most intelligent news program ever."
"I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is probably the finest sound there is and will last until the day when the game is called on account of darkness. In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can.""I think laughter may be a form of courage. As humans we sometimes stand tall and look into the sun and laugh, and I think we are never more brave than when we do that.""If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?""If you believe in your heart that you are right, you must fight with all your might to do it your way. Only dead fish swim with the stream all the time.""Styles, like everything else, change. Style doesn't.""The new national campfire - radio.""Time doesn't go. Time stays. We go.""When the anchorman is wearing a colonel's uniform, it tells you something."
Ellerbee was born Linda Jane Smith in Bryan, Texas. She attended River Oaks Elementary School, Lanier Middle School, and Lamar High School in Houston, Texas.
She also attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
At NBC, Ellerbee worked as a reporter on The Today Show. Her first anchor job was on the short-lived Weekend. Ellerbee was added to the Weekend broadcast team when the show moved from a late-night time slot into direct prime time competition with CBS's 60 Minutes. She would end her stories with the phrase, "And so it goes." A couple of years later, Ellerbee was placed in the anchor chair again, this time on NBC News Overnight, where her trademark writing style made the show somewhat reminiscent of her stint on Weekend. She ended each broadcast with a short, usually wry, commentary, signing off for the night with her catch-phrase, "And so it goes", which later became the title of her first memoir. While at NBC, Ellerbee worked with Jessica Savitch; when Savitch's drug problems became apparent Ellerbee tried to organize an intervention, but Savitch died before it took place.
In 1986, after the cancellation of Overnight, Ellerbee moved to rival network ABC. There she served as a reporter for the morning program Good Morning America. At ABC, Ellerbee was able to co-write and co-anchor (with Ray Gandolf) Our World, a weekly primetime historical series. Her work on that program won her an Emmy.
In 1987, Ellerbee and her life and business partner Rolfe Tessem left network news to start their own production company, Lucky Duck Productions. The company has produced programs for every major cable network, and has as its flagship program Nick News, a news program for children on Nickelodeon. That show has received many awards: three Peabody Awards (including one personal Peabody given to Ellerbee for her coverage of the Clinton investigation), another duPont Columbia Award and three Emmys. In 2004, Ellerbee was honored with an Emmy for her WE: Women’s Entertainment network series When I Was a Girl.
In 1989, she guest-starred as herself in an episode of the sitcom Murphy Brown. The episode "Summer of '77" referenced that Ellerbee had auditioned for the anchor job which eventually went to the title character, played by Candice Bergen. Murphy Brown also accuses Ellerbee of stealing her catchphrase "And so it goes..." from her during a long haul flight. The two reminisce with Ellerbee saying she might like to go back to an old network job, and Brown wanting to take some time off to write a book. Both reply with "Nahh...".
Her autobiography And So It Goes was published in 1986. A second book of memoirs, Move on: Adventures in the Real World was published in 1992 and third, Take Big Bites: Adventures Around the World and Across the Table in 2005. In addition, she has authored an eight-part series of Girl Reporter books for young people, as well as a syndicated newspaper column.
In 1992, Ellerbee was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. Since then, Ellerbee spends much of her time speaking to groups about how she fought the cancer and how women need to fight not only the disease and for better medical treatments of it, but to laugh in the face of cancer as well.
Linda married Mac Smith in 1964, but divorced in 1966. She then married Van Veselka in 1968 and had two children, Vanessa and Joshua. In 1971, Linda and Van divorced. In 1973, Ellerbee married Tom Ellerbee; they divorced the following year.