Joan Lunden (September 19, 1950) is an American journalist, author and television host. She was the co-host of ABC's Good Morning America from 1980 to 1997, and has authored eight books. She has appeared on the Biography program and Biography Channel.
As of 2014 she is a special correspondent for NBC's Today show.
Lunden was born as Joan Elise Blunden in Fair Oaks, California, the daughter of Gladyce Lorraine (née Somervill) and Dr. Erle Murray Blunden, a physician.
She earned a liberal arts degree from California State University, Sacramento.
She attended California State University, Sacramento and later studied Spanish and anthropology at the former Mexico City campus of Universidad de Las Americas. She was a visiting instructor at Montclair State College in New Jersey, where she taught a course in broadcast journalism. Her first news anchor job was at KCRA-TV. She began her broadcasting career in Sacramento, California, where she worked for Channel 3 (KCRA) and Radio as co-anchor of the daily noon television news program. She produced the noon news broadcast and hosted KCRA's television specials.
Good Morning America
In 1975, Lunden joined New York's WABC-TV Eyewitness News, at which time her name was changed to avoid being called "Blunder". A year later she became co-anchor on the weekend newscasts. Lunden joined GMA in the fall of 1976 as a feature news/consumer reporter, and later became fill-in co-host when former co-host Sandy Hill left to work on ABC's coverage of the Winter Olympics.
Her popularity led to her quick promotion to co-host with David Hartman, the program's original host. Later she would spend the majority of her career hosting with ABC's Charlie Gibson. She reported from 26 countries, covered four presidents, five Olympic Games, and two royal weddings. Her popularity on the GMA program from the 1970s through the 1990s allowed her to interview U.S. Presidents and First Ladies Gerald and Betty Ford, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, George and Barbara Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and also Texas Governor George and Laura Bush prior to the younger Bush's 2000 election as President.
As the co-host of GMA, Lunden traveled the world, covering historic events, such as the 50th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe) in 1995; the 50th anniversary of D-Day; the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo and Calgary; and the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. She covered the administrations and inaugurations of three presidents — Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan. She was one of only three American journalists to interview Prince Charles during his 1983 visit to the United States.
Lunden was known for her willingness to take risks in her role as host. She climbed and rappelled Alaska's famed Mendenhall Glacier and bungee-jumped off a 143-foot bridge and paraglided off a 2,000-foot mountain during the program's highly rated trip to New Zealand. She navigated the whitewater rapids of a Georgia river for a GMA show in 1994.
Hosting and other work
She was a host on the A&E cable network program Behind Closed Doors (originally aired on ABC as occasional primetime specials; 1996-2001), an on-location, undercover reporter program. She also frequently guest hosted A&E's Biography. Her most recent television shows include hosting DirectTV's series Hometown Heroes and the Emmy-winning special America's Invisible Children.
Lunden hosts Health Corner, a Lifetime series sponsored by Walgreens, and as of at least 2013 she is the spokesperson for A Place for Mom, a national senior care referral service.
- 1975–2000: ABC News
- 1975–1980: WABC reporter
- 1976–1980: WABC anchor
- 1976–1980: Good Morning America correspondent and fill-in anchor
- 1980–1997: Good Morning America Co-anchor
- 1997–2000: ABC News correspondent
- 2007–2014: Retirement Living TV host/reporter
- September 30, 2014–present: NBC Today Show Special correspondent
Activities and honors
Lunden has earned numerous honors and awards, including the Spirit of Achievement Award from the Albert Einstein College of Yeshiva; National Women's Political Caucus Award; New Jersey Division of Civil Rights Award; Baylor University Outstanding Woman of the Year; and the YWCA Outstanding Woman's Award. The New York Association for Women in Communications honored Lunden with a Matrix Award for her outstanding contributions to the broadcasting field.
She was voted "Career Mother of the Year" by the National Institute of Infant Services, and in 1982–1983, honoring her dedication to motherhood, she was voted "Mother of the Year" by the National Mother's Day Committee. She has been a national spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Lunden hosted ABC's broadcast of the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, from 1989 to 1991, and hosted the Walt Disney World Easter and Christmas Parades with Regis Philbin until the mid-90s.
In April 1991, Lunden was honored by New York Women in Communications with a Matrix Award for her "outstanding contributions to the broadcasting field." Lunden appeared as herself in a brief role in the 2006 film Thank You for Smoking. She also appeared on the cover of Woman's Day in 2004.
Lunden is involved in various personal projects, such as her Camp Reveille, a summer weekend getaway for women of all ages in Naples, Maine.
Lunden is on the board of PassportMD, an online personal health record system that uses Microsoft HealthVault, which allows families to maintain and organize their family health records.
Lunden was married to Michael A. Krauss from 1978 until their divorce in 1992. The couple has three daughters: Jamie Beryl Krauss, born July 4, 1980; Lindsay Leigh Krauss; and Sarah Emily Krauss. Lunden converted to Judaism when marrying Krauss. She married Jeff Konigsberg on April 18, 2000. They have four children, two sets of twins, born with the help of a surrogate mother, and Lunden has become a spokeswoman for surrogacy.
On Tuesday, June 24, 2014, Lunden revealed on Good Morning America that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.