August 18th, 2009
12:02 PM ET
5 years ago

Conservative columnist Novak dead at 78

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Conservative columnist and former CNN "Crossfire" co-host Robert Novak has died after a year-long battle with cancer, his family announced Tuesday. He was 78.

Novak died at home, just over a year after doctors diagnosed him with a malignant brain tumor in August 2008. He was a veteran columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a regular commentator for CNN for 25 years, beginning when the network launched in 1980.

For most of that time, he was a co-host of the political debate program "Crossfire." But he also hosted a show with his longtime column co-author, Rowland Evans, and appeared as a panelist on shows like "The Capital Gang" and on PBS' "The McLaughlin Group."

He was dubbed "The Prince of Darkness" by friends for his pessimistic persona, and he used the nickname as the title of his 2007 memoir.

Novak got his first newspaper job in 1948, when he was still in high school. He served in the Army during the Korean War before turning to the news business, eventually starting his column with Evans at the now-defunct New York Herald-Tribune in 1963.

In 2003, he found himself at the center of the scandal over the exposure of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, when he published a column revealing her CIA status days after her husband challenged a key Bush administration justification for the invasion of Iraq. The scandal ultimately led to the conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators probing the leak.

Novak cooperated with a special prosecutor and was not charged in the case.


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soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Psbro

    R.I.P

    August 18, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Obama 2.0

    Rest in Peace.

    August 18, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    I was a big "Crossfire" fan. Though I rarely agreed with Mr. Novak's point of view, I always enjoyed the lively discussions. Rest in peace.

    August 18, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. franco

    May the good Lord comfort the Novak family. Bob was a man of conviction, unshakeable, and truly a solid citizen.

    August 18, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Matt

    One of the last great reporters of the Old Guard....RIP, Mr. Novak

    August 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    In the spirit of bipartisanship, I say rest in peace Mr. Novak. I never agreed with you, but enjoyed Crossfire and everything you brought to it.

    August 18, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Just Me

    My Momma told me if you don't have anything nice to say, that I should keep my mouth shut. But, I do have something nice to say. May he RIP.

    August 18, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Phat Elvis

    Cancer sucks, even if i didnt like the guy, i am sad that he got taken down by the big C

    August 18, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Rick of Mount Vernon, Wa

    I will miss his view points alot. He was one of the best. God bless.

    August 18, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. shoegazer

    I didn't agree with many of his views but that's alright,he wouldn't have agreed with many of mine.What will be missed is the even handed way he put his across and his ability to make the debate lively enough
    to enjoy.I miss the old days of Crossfire.

    August 18, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. St. Louis Jake

    Mr. Novak was a gentleman and one of the last of the right-wing spokespeople that wasn't a fear-mongering conservo-fascist. I seldom agreed with his stance, but I would always listen to him.

    August 18, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Jim

    Even though I did not always agree with him, I had to tip my hat to him for his convictions, intellectual firepower, and for what I have read about his integrity. RIP, Mr. Novak.

    August 18, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Sherry Cloud

    My son worked as an intern years ago on Crossfire. Bob Novak was very kind to him. He was a gentleman.

    August 18, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Monarch

    Guts, fair, intense, committed....an American Icon

    August 18, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Matt Shine

    Even though I rarely agreed with him, I had to respect the man and his opinions. Hopefully his family is coping well.

    August 18, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. Brad

    May he rest in peace and other good junk

    August 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    A great man that I had the privelege of meeting on several occassions.
    May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

    August 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. yuri

    May God bless him and may his soul rest in peace.

    August 18, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. steve

    i respected mr. novak for his views which i often disagreed with.. this liberal will miss his words. god bless and rest in peace.

    August 18, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. a little sad

    Rest in peace. Like others, I didn't often agree with him, but I thought he always brought integrity to the discussion.

    August 18, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Jethro

    One of the last of the great investigative reporters/columnists. A real gentleman.

    August 18, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. Pel

    I am a Liberal Demo, but I always admired Bob Novak, pre CROSSFIRE and post CROSSFIRE. I extend condolences to his wife, children, grandchildren and the rest of his family.

    August 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Danielle

    Wasn't a fan of his politics, but I extend my condolences to his family.

    August 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. California Gold

    May he rest in peace and my prayers to his family and friends.

    August 18, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. Searchin4Truth

    Mr. Novak was always searching 4 truth. He was inspirational.
    In a country were most of the news USED TO BE with a liberal slant, Mr. Novak stuck to his beliefs and did it in a gracious way.

    There aren't many like him now. RIP... I am sure he sits at the RIGHT hand of God, not the left ;-)

    August 18, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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