Bill O'Reilly Biography
William James O’Reilly, Jr. was born on September 10, 1949 in New York City. His father, William, was an accountant for an oil company, and his mother, Angela, was a stay-at-home mom. In 1951, William and Angela moved their family to Levittown on Long Island. He attended a private all-boys Catholic school in Mineola, and went on to attend Marist College in Poughkeepsie. While at Marist, O’Reilly wrote for the school newspaper and also played in the National Club Football Association. In 1971, he received a B.A. in history. Around this time, he played semi-professional baseball for the New York Mets and also unsuccessfully tried out for the New York Mets.
After graduation, O’Reilly moved to Miami, Florida where he taught English at the high school level. O’Reilly later attended Boston University where he obtained a master’s degree in broadcast journalism. While in Boston, he wrote for many local newspapers and weeklies. He completed his internship in Miami, and also was an entertainment writer and movie critic for the Miami Herald.
Over the next few years, O’Reilly worked for news stations all over the country. He held reporting and anchoring positions in cities such as Scranton, Pennsylvania, Dallas, Texas, Denver, Colorado and Portland, Oregon. In 1980, he began anchoring his own program in New York on WCBS-TV. He won a Local Emmy for his investigation of corrupt city marshals. Two years later he was promoted and became a correspondent for CBS News. He covered the wars in El Salvador and the Falkland Islands. He later left CBS over a dispute concerning uncredited footage.
In 1986, O’Reilly joined ABC News as a correspondent for ABC World News Tonight. Three years later, he joined Inside Edition as a senior correspondent, and soon became the anchor after David Frost’s termination. In 1995 he was replaced as anchor by Deborah Norville. That same year he obtained a Master of Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He also married Maureen E. McPhilmy in 1995.
After completing his degree at Harvard, O’Reilly was hired by Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of the then start-up FOX News Channel. He was hired to anchor The O’Reilly Report which quickly became The O’Reilly Factor and was given a prime time slot. The O’Reilly Factor is still on the air today, and continues to be one of the top ranked shows on cable news. The show covers top news stories and includes his commentary on the subject as well as investigative journalism. The show is currently broadcast in 30 countries.
O’Reilly also hosts a call-in radio show, “The Radio Factor”. It is a two-hour program that airs on 400 stations across the nation. He has also written numerous books including, “The O’Reilly Factor”, “The No-Spin Zone”, “Culture Warrior”, and “Who’s Looking Out For You.” In 2005, he wrote a children’s book, “The O’Reilly Factor for Kids,” and it was the bestselling children’s nonfiction book of 2005. The follow up children’s book, “Kids are Americans, Too” was released in October 2007.
In 2004, O’Reilly filed a lawsuit against O’Reilly Factor producer, Andrea Mackris for extortion. O’Reilly claimed that she threatened to file a sexual harassment suit against him if he did not pay her $60 million. Later that day, Mackris filed a sexual harassment complaint. Both parties reached a private settlement and both claims were dismissed.
While labeled by many as a conservative, he prefers to describe himself as a traditionalist. He says, “I’m not a political guy in the sense that I embrace an ideology. To this day I’m an independent thinker, an independent voter, I’m a registered independent…there are certain fundamental things that this country was founded upon that I respect and don’t want changed. That separates me from the secularists who want a complete overhaul of how the country is run.”
O’Reilly and his wife have two children, Madeleine – born in 1998, and Spencer, born in 2003. The family resides in New York.
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