The Arthur Kent Index

March 04, 1991|By Jean Marbella

A war can be a great career move, especially when it comes to news correspondents. In the case of NBC's Arthur Kent, the gulf war turned a somewhat unnoticed foreign correspondent into a veritable media star. Amid the network suits and military uniforms who brought us the news from the gulf, the cool and handsome 37-year-old in the brown leather jacket was a welcome break from the mold. We last heard he was still reporting from a military pool over there, and while we don't know what his plans for the future are, here's what we could glean about his past.

Birthday: Dec. 27, 1953.

Birthplace: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.

Citizenship: Canadian.

Education: B.A. in journalism and history, Carleton University, Ottawa, with "first-class honours."

Height: 6 feet.

Marital status: Divorced.

Nicknames: Scud Stud, Pinup of the Persian Gulf, Desert Hunk, Desert Fox, Arthur of Arabia.

How he feels about his sudden stardom: "It all looks very exciting, but there's a lot of serious stuff going on out here, and it's important for us as journalists not to try to interject our personalities. It's clear who the heroes are in this situation when you see the faces of the captured airmen or the soldiers on the line or the civilians trapped in Iraq." (As issued through NBC press office.)

How he really feels about it: It's "a kick." (As told to USA Today.)

Whether he has a girlfriend: Yes, according to USA Today.

Where he lived before being sent to the gulf: Rome.

Number of brothers: One, Peter Kent, chief correspondent for "World Monitor TV" in Boston and former NBC correspondent in London.

Number of sisters: Three, including Norma Kent, co-host of Canadian Broadcasting Co.'s "Market Place."

Other media family ties: Late father, Parker, was associate editor of Calgary Herald.

Trademark No. 1: Brown leather jacket.

Trademark No. 2: Hair longer than standard network issue.

Other identifying mark: Scar on left cheek.

Number of years left on his contract to NBC: 3 1/2 .

Number of anchor offers he's received lately: Three, "one in a top 10 market," according to his agent Stu Witt.

Which one he'll take: None. "He's under contract to NBC," according to Mr. Witt.

When he joined NBC: August 1989.

What he did before: Free-lanced for NBC from Abolanistan, Pakistan, Soviet Union and China since 1986. Owned own company, Lookout Communications.

Past reporting glories: Tiananmen Square, 1989; Armenian earthquake, 1988; Abolanistan, late '80s.

Where he got his start: CJOH-TV, Ottawa affiliate of CTV.

One claim to fame: At 21, became CBC News' youngest correspondent.

Number of Emmys: Two, for roles in NBC's coverage of Romanian revolution and NBC News special, "China in Crisis."

Number of times the word "major" appears in his NBC bio: Two, as in "major breaking news stories from around the world" and "major contributor to NBC News coverage."

Other salient phrases in his NBC bio: "Line of fire," "heat of battle" and "great personal danger."

Most memorable line from his gulf war coverage: "Hello, New York, this is Saudi Arabia, this is not a drill," interrupting the American Football Conference championship game between the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Raiders, as an explosion went off nearby. "There goes a Patriot -- let's go!"

Second most memorable line from his war coverage: "Get me audio!" as sirens warned of incoming Scuds.

What he's done for ratings of "NBC Nightly News:" Helped make it more popular among women 24 to 54.

Dumb thing said about him: "If he comes back to this country with so much as a scratch on his face, Saddam Hussein will have to answer to the women of this country." (Sally Thorner, WMAR-TV, Channel 2, anchor.)

Jealous thing said about him: "Everybody loves Arthur Kent. Now there's a guy with some hair. Now he wants to be an anchorman. He'll never be an anchorman, because it takes too long to fix up his hair." (David Letterman.)

True thing said about him: "He's like a good martini, rather arid, and very crisp and cool at night." (Unidentified San Jose Mercury News writer to the Toronto Star.)

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