David Cunningham Garroway III, born on 13 July 1913, was the son of David Cunningham Garroway Jr. and Bertha Isole Tanner. David Jr. was a mechanical engineer, and in 1920, the family was living in Schenectady, New York, with Bertha’s parents.

They moved to University City, Missouri, in the late 1920s. The 1930 census shows them living at 6644 Washington Avenue; David Jr. was a salesman of insulator caps. Young David, “Dave,” was a student at University City High School, where in his senior year he performed in two plays before graduating in the class of 1931.

He admitted that he was not much of a student, but he went on to attend Washington University, from which he graduated in 1935. He moved to New York to attend NBC’s school for announcers, after which he became a disk jockey in 1939 for radio station WMAQ in Chicago.

During World War II, Dave served in the Navy. He then returned to Chicago, where he was host of a variety show called “Garroway at Large.” His relaxed style and the excellence of the performers attracted the attention of NBC television network executives, who asked Dave to come to New York to become the host of a new show called “Today.”

From 1952 until 1961, Dave Garroway hosted the “Today” show. With his horn-rimmed glasses, his bow ties, his dry sense of humor, and a freewheeling chimpanzee named J. Fred Muggs, he turned the new show into a morning television staple. During part of that time, 1955 to 1958, he also was host of a show called “Wide, Wide World,” a Sunday afternoon series featuring stories from around the world.

Dave took out a marriage license application with Adele Marie Dwyer in St. Louis County on 15 February 1941; both were from Chicago, and since the process was not completed in St. Louis, they may have taken out a new license and married in Illinois. He was later married twice more.

Dave Garroway
Dave Garroway, 1931
Photo in the collection of the Historical Society of University City; used with permission

After he left the “Today” show, Dave continued working in television, living a quiet life in suburban Philadelphia. He died at home, at the age of sixty-nine, on 21 July 1982.

In 2001, University City High School inducted Dave Garroway into its Hall of Fame because of his pioneering efforts in morning television. He also has a star and plaque, located at 6627 Delmar, on the University City Walk of Fame.

(Sources include U.S. federal census records, online biographies and newspaper articles, obituaries, and death records)

Written by Ilene Kanfer Murray
February 2017 (excerpted from a longer essay originally written in 2009)
© 2017, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 25-Oct-2018 21:36