Robert McFarland, a former NBC News executive, died Tuesday, July 25, at his home in Austin, Texas, of lymphoma. He was 62.
McFarland started his career with NBC News in 1966 as a reporter in Cleveland and quickly became broadcast producer. He moved to Washington in 1969 to work on the Huntley-Brinkley Report as domestic producer. Four years later, he moved across the Atlantic to serve as London bureau chief in 1973 in what NBC called a "hectic assignment directing NBC News coverage of radical terrorism in Europe and the Middle East."
Reuven Frank, former president of NBC News, recalled that McFarland "liked being where news was and he handled it very well." After his stint as London bureau chief, McFarland returned stateside in 1977 to serve as senior broadcast news producer of NBC Nightly News in Washington. In 1982, he was appointed vice president and Washington bureau chief. His career with NBC took him to New York in 1990, where, as a senior executive, he undertook planning duties in the front office until his retirement in 1994.
Tim Russert was scheduled to pay tribute to McFarland Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press. "Our viewers should know the kind of person who spent 28 years of his life toiling for NBC News," said Russert, who in a recent letter to McFarland praised him as "always a true professional and a gentleman."
McFarland is survived by his mother, Fay McFarland; his wife, Elizabeth; and three children.