Bob Woodruff

Last updated

Bob Woodruff
Bob Woodruff 2015.jpg
Woodruff in 2015
Robert Warren Woodruff

(1961-08-18) August 18, 1961 (age 60)
Education Colgate University
University of Michigan (J.D.)
OccupationTelevision journalist
Years active1989–present
Notable credit(s)
ABC World News co-anchor
ABC News reporter
Spouse(s)Lee McConaughy
Website Official ABC biography
Bob Woodruff Foundation Website

Robert Warren Woodruff (born August 18, 1961) is an American television journalist who co-anchored ABC World News Tonight in 2006 alongside ABC News journalist Elizabeth Vargas. He was severely injured by an IED explosion during a reporting trip to Iraq that January, and slowly recovered over an extended period.


Early life and education

Woodruff was born on August 18, 1961, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, the son of Frances Ann (Dawson) and Robert Norman Woodruff Jr., real estate agents. [1] [2] [3]

Woodruff graduated from the private Cranbrook Kingswood school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1979. He earned a B.A. in 1983 from Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, where he played lacrosse—finishing his career with 184 points, second all-time at Colgate. Woodruff earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1987, and he is an alumnus of Theta Chi Fraternity. [4]


After graduating from law school, Woodruff worked as a bankruptcy associate at Shearman & Sterling, LLC., in New York City. [5] In 1989, while Woodruff was teaching law in Beijing, China, CBS News hired him as an on-screen interpreter during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Shortly thereafter, he left the law practice and became a full-time correspondent, initially working for several local stations.

ABC News

Woodruff began working for ABC News in 1996. [6] [7] He succeeded Peter Jennings as a co-anchor of ABC World News Tonight in December 2005, along with Elizabeth Vargas. In January 2006, Woodruff was critically wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Wounded in Iraq

In 2006, Woodruff was wounded while covering the war in Iraq. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was not expected to survive. However, Woodruff recovered, and is determined to help other Americans who were similarly wounded in war.

On January 29, 2006, Woodruff and Canadian cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured in an explosion from an improvised explosive device near Taji, Iraq, about 12 miles (19 km) north of Baghdad. [8] Woodruff had traveled with an ABC News team to Israel to report on the aftermath of the 2006 Palestinian elections, and then via Amman to Baghdad, so that he could meet with troops before President George W. Bush's State of the Union address for 2006. [9]

At the time of the attack, they were embedded with the U.S. 4th Infantry Division, traveling in an Iraqi MT-LB. Woodruff and Vogt were standing with their heads above a hatch, apparently filming a stand-up. Both men were wearing body armor and protective helmets at the time. Woodruff sustained shrapnel wounds; Vogt was struck by shrapnel in the head, and suffered a broken shoulder. Both men underwent surgery for head injuries with a joint Army and Air Force neurosurgical team at the U.S. Air Force hospital south of Balad, located in Camp Anaconda, and were reported to be in stable condition. [10] Tom Brokaw reported on the Today show that Woodruff had a portion of his skull removed during surgery to reduce the damage from brain swelling. [11]

Woodruff and Vogt were evacuated to the U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany overnight on Sunday, January 29. [12] On ABC World News Tonight that evening, anchor Elizabeth Vargas discussed the dangers of reporting in a combat zone.

After leaving Germany, Woodruff was treated for several weeks at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.

Recovery from injuries

Woodruff was kept in a medically induced coma for 36 days to assist his recovery, and ABC News temporarily assigned Good Morning America anchors Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer to alternate duties on the evening newscast as co-anchors with Vargas. Vogt meanwhile was reported to be awake, mobile, and recovering. [13]

As of March 7, 2006, Woodruff's brother reported that the ABC anchor was beginning to walk, recognize friends and family, and speak in several languages. However, he struggled with expressive aphasia for more than a year after the injury. [14] Woodruff was transferred on March 16, 2006, to a medical facility closer to his Westchester County, New York, home, a sign of "continued progress in all respects", ABC News President, David Westin, said in an e-mail to staffers. [15] Westin's email noted that Woodruff was able to get around, talk to and joke with his family, but that "months of further recuperation" were still required.

On April 6, 2006, ABC News released photos of Woodruff recovering at home, along with a letter thanking everyone for their support and kindness during his ongoing recovery. Woodruff especially thanked the soldiers, doctors, and nurses who had saved his life. [16] On December 29, 2006, Woodruff's wife, Lee, an editor at Family Fun Magazine appeared on Good Morning America to discuss family activities to celebrate the New Year. During the report, anchor Kate Snow asked Lee about her husband's condition. Lee said that Bob was doing well and was currently filming a television documentary about his experiences. She also revealed that he had been back to Iraq since the incident to visit the soldiers with whom he was traveling at the time of his injury.

Consequences at ABC News

ABC's World News Tonight remained second in the Nielsen Media Research rankings, though it had lost some ground to NBC's then first-place Nightly News, anchored by Brian Williams before his ouster. Bob Schieffer on CBS Evening News also closed the gap with ABC after Woodruff's injury. [15] On May 23, 2006, Vargas announced her resignation from WNT, citing her doctors' recommendation to cut back her schedule considerably due to her upcoming maternity leave, and her wish to spend more time with her new baby. Gibson was then named sole anchor of the show, effective May 29, 2006. [17]

Return to air

On February 27, 2007, Woodruff appeared on Good Morning America , ABC World News with Charles Gibson , and The Oprah Winfrey Show , in advance of a documentary that aired on ABC later that evening. Despite having made great progress in his recovery, during the GMA interview with Diane Sawyer, Woodruff had some difficulty remembering words and details, such as the name of the Vietnam War and the word "injury". The hour-long documentary, "To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports‚" explored the consequences of traumatic brain injury and highlighted the difficulties brain injured veterans face finding treatment—a subject that had first appeared in Discover magazine several weeks earlier, [18] and was elaborated on by Washington Post reporters in the exposé "Painting Over the Problems at Walter Reed's Building 18".

Woodruff resumed his contributions to ABC World News with Charles Gibson the following day, February 28, with the first in a series of follow-up reports centering on the problems that wounded American soldiers are encountering in their treatment and recovery, particularly at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Starting March 7, he was scheduled to begin reporting for Nightline "at regular intervals". [19]

On July 12, 2008, Woodruff began hosting a new weekly ABC News–produced newscast, Focus Earth with Bob Woodruff, on the Planet Green television channel. On Focus Earth, Woodruff covered the environmental news of the week, looking at subjects ranging from climate impact, environmental policy, political debate, and world events, as well as how climate change affects religious and cultural views and issues. [20]

In 2014, Woodruff worked with ESPN and ABC Sports as a reporter and host for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, normally alongside ESPN Brazil senior writer Rubens Pozzi.

In 2020, he started a National Geographic show, Rogue Trip , with his son Mack. The show premiered on Disney+.

Bob Woodruff Foundation

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) is a nonprofit that supports post-9/11 impacted service members, veterans, and their families after they return home. [21]

In 2014, Woodruff was awarded the third highest honor within the Department of the Army Civilian Awards, the Outstanding Civilian Service Award, for substantial contributions to the U.S. Army community through his work with the Woodruff Foundation. [22]

Personal life

Lee Woodruff hosting "Archetypes" interview program in 2013. Lee Woodruff on Archetypes.jpg
Lee Woodruff hosting "Archetypes" interview program in 2013.

Woodruff married Lee McConaughy in 1988, [1] and they have four children, Macklin Robert (Mack), Cathryn, and twins Claire and Nora.

Woodruff may be distantly related to television journalist Judy Woodruff. [1]


Bob Woodruff at the 67th Annual Peabody Awards for Wounds of War-The Long Road Home for Our Nation's Veterans Bob Woodruff at the 67th Annual Peabody Awards for Wounds of War-The Long Road Home for Our Nation's Veterans.jpg
Bob Woodruff at the 67th Annual Peabody Awards for Wounds of War-The Long Road Home for Our Nation's Veterans

Woodruff has received numerous awards, including:

Related Research Articles

ABC World News Tonight is the flagship daily evening television news program of ABC News, the news division of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) television network in the United States. It is currently the most watched network newscast in the United States, with an average of 2 million more than its nearest rival, NBC Nightly News. Since 2014, the program's weekday broadcasts have been anchored by David Muir. As of February 6–7, 2021, Whit Johnson and Linsey Davis anchor the weekend editions of the newscast, with Johnson anchoring on Saturdays and Davis anchoring on Sundays.

<i>NBC Nightly News</i> Flagship daily evening television news program for NBC News

NBC Nightly News is the flagship daily evening television news program for NBC News, the news division of the NBC television network in the United States. First aired on August 3, 1970, the program is currently the second most watched network newscast in the United States, behind ABC's World News Tonight. NBC Nightly News is produced from Studio 1A at NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City. Select Los Angeles-based editions broadcast from The Brokaw News Center in Universal City, California, or when broadcasting from Washington, D.C., either from the NBC News bureau based at WRC-TV in the Tenleytown neighborhood, or NBC's secondary studio overlooking Capitol Hill.

Nightline is ABC News' late-night television news program broadcast on ABC in the United States with a franchised formula to other networks and stations elsewhere in the world. Created by Roone Arledge, the program featured Ted Koppel as its main anchor from March 1980 until his retirement in November 2005. Its current, rotating anchors are Byron Pitts and Juju Chang. Nightline airs weeknights from 12:37 to 1:07 a.m., Eastern Time, after Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which had served as the program's lead-out from 2003 to 2012.

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Elizabeth Vargas American television journalist

Elizabeth Anne Vargas is an American television journalist who is the lead investigative reporter/documentary anchor for A&E Networks, and the current host for Fox's revival of America's Most Wanted. She began her new position on May 28, 2018, after being an anchor of ABC's television newsmagazine 20/20 and ABC News specials for the past 14 years. In 2006 Vargas was co-anchor of World News Tonight alongside ABC News journalist Bob Woodruff.

Bob Schieffer American television journalist

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Doug Vogt is a Canadian photojournalist and cameraman. He was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He lived 25 years in Europe and presently lives in Los Angeles, United States.

Kimberly Dozier

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James Brolan was a British freelance journalist and television sound technician, who was killed while working for CBS News in Baghdad, Iraq. Just one month before he was killed in Iraq, Brolan, as part the CBS News team that covered the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, received the 2005 Overseas Press Club Award—the David Kaplan Award for Best Television Spot News Reporting From Abroad.

Joshua Kors

Joshua Kors is an attorney and an investigative reporter. He covers military and veterans' issues.

David Muir American broadcast journalist

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J. R. Martinez

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Stand Up for Heroes

Stand Up for Heroes is annual benefit concert/comedy festival, started in 2007, that benefits the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which supports charities and runs programs benefitting veterans. The benefit usually kicks off New York Comedy Festival, and was started by Festival founders Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox and Foundation founders Bob Woodruff and Lee Woodruff. The events takes place yearly at the Hulu Theater inside Madison Square Garden, although it was originally held at the Beacon Theatre and The Town Hall, both in New York City. As of 2019, the event has raised $55 million for the foundation.


  1. 1 2 3 The New York Times wedding announcement
  2. C.B.Kirkpatrick, Historian, Bloomfield Village, Bloomfield Hills, MI.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 22, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Bob Woodruff wiki" . Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  5. "The Recovery of Recovering Lawyer, Bob Woodruff". The Wall Street Journal, USA. January 30, 2007.
  6. ABC News. "Bob Woodruff". ABC News, USA. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  7. "ABC News Stories published by Bob Woodruff". ABC News, USA. January 30, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  8. "ABC's Bob Woodruff seriously injured in Iraq". NBC News. January 29, 2006.
  9. "Reflections from the Woodruff Team in Baghdad". ABC News, USA. January 29, 2006.
  10. "ABC's Woodruff, Cameraman Injured in Iraq". ABC News, USA. January 29, 2006.
  11. "ABC's Woodruff Injured in Iraq". E! Online. January 30, 2006. Archived from the original on February 19, 2006.
  12. "ABC Anchor, Bob Woodruff, Cameraman, Doug Vogt, in Iraq in Stable Condition". CNN, USA. January 29, 2006.
  13. Steinberg, Jacques (February 4, 2006). "Changes at ABC, Where the War Is More Than News". The New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  14. "Struggle for Words Frustrates Woodruff". USA Today. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  15. 1 2 ABC's Woodruff Transferred from Naval Hospital, Making Progress Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine , a March 2006 article from Editor & Publisher
  16. ABC News blogsite Archived April 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  17. "Charles Gibson Named Sole Anchor of 'World News Tonight'". Archived from the original on March 6, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2006.
  18. "Dead Men Walking". Discover Magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  19. Nightline email dated March 7, 2007
  20. "Environmental News and Information - MNN - Mother Nature Network". Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  21. "Bob Woodruff Foundation". Bob Woodruff Foundation, USA. January 30, 2017.
  22. "Salute from the Chief - A special Twilight Tattoo". US Army. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  23. 67th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2008.
  24. "Bob Woodruff To Be Honored With Public Leadership In Neurology Award". Look to the Stars. April 19, 2016. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  25. "Bob Woodruff to Receive Public Leadership in Neurology Award". Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  26. Broadcasters, National Association of. "NAB Awards | Past Award Recipients". National Association of Broadcasters. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
Media offices
Preceded by
Peter Jennings
World News Tonight Co-Anchor
(with Elizabeth Vargas )
January 3, 2006- May 26, 2006
(last anchored January 27, 2006)
Succeeded by
Charles Gibson