Vladimir Pozner Jr.

On this date in 1934, Vladimir Vladimirovich Pozner was born in Paris to a Russian-Jewish father, also named Vladimir, and a French Catholic mother, Géraldine Lutten. The couple separated when he was 3 months old, and he and his mother moved near her family in New York City. His parents later reunited and moved back to Paris in 1939.

Fleeing World War II, they returned to New York in 1940. Pozner briefly attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan until his father, under FBI scrutiny for pro-Soviet activities and suspected spying, moved them to East Berlin and then to Moscow. He majored in human physiology at Moscow State University and earned a B.S. in 1958.

In 1961 he joined Novosty Press Agency (later learning his department was actually a KGB “disinformation” effort) and then became editor of Soviet Life and Sputnik magazines. He was a commentator on Radio Moscow from 1970-86. Pozner was permitted to travel abroad from 1977 to 1980, when his passport was revoked for criticizing Russia’s military incursions in Afghanistan.

In the late 1980s he began appearing regularly on ABC’s “Nightline,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC and other TV networks in the U.S. and abroad, all by satellite hookup because he was not allowed to travel. In 1985-86 he co-hosted two shows, also by satellite, with Phil Donahue, which brought glasnost to Soviet TV. In 1989, he resigned from the Communist Party.

He moved to New York City in 1991 to work with Donahue. Parting with Illusions (1990) became a national best-seller, which was followed by Eyewitness (1991). In 1997, Pozner returned to Moscow to host two TV shows. He served as president of the Academy of Russian Television and dean of the Pozner School of Television Journalism. He has won two Emmy certificates and several other journalism awards.

He married Valentina Chemberdzhi (1957–67), Yekaterina Orlova (1969–2005) and Nadezhda Solovieva (2005). He has often identified himself publicly as an atheist and has advocated for the right to euthanasia and legalization of same-sex unions and recreational drugs in order to cut down on trafficking.

Freedom From Religion Foundation