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Chairman FPA 1981
Arthur Kent Jr. (Art Kent) was born in New York City on Feb. 11, 1933, to Arthur Louis Capurro and Julia Ruether Capurro. Five years later, Arthur’s father changed the family name to Kent, the year before he won the national competition, Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air, and became a featured baritone with the N.Y. Metropolitan Opera. Art’s uncle, Alfred, changed his name from Capurro to Drake. Alfred Drake became a five-time Tony Award-winning Broadway leading man starring in Oklahoma!; Kiss Me, Kate; Kismet and others. Kent attended Williams College and enlisted in Army Intelligence in 1952. After completing the Chinese-Mandarin course at the Army Language School, he served in Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and Formosa. He returned to the United States in 1955 and joined the Salt Lake City Police Department while he simultaneously began his career in broadcast journalism. News, reported with integrity, became a way of life for him. By 1963, Kent was news director of the NBC affiliate, KUTV, in Salt Lake City. After a stint as an NBC News correspondent in Vietnam in 1970, he returned to Salt Lake City and became news director of KSL-AM/FM/TV and later news director of KCPX-TV. In 1975, he moved to Pittsburgh as news director of NBC affiliate WIIC-TV, then chief of the NBC Pittsburgh News Bureau. Over the next two years, he produced NBC News coverage of Three Mile Island, served as a correspondent in Nicaragua and produced President Carter’s state trip to Japan and Korea. In 1979, Kent was named executive producer of NBC News’ Iowa Caucuses. Following that assignment, he was NBC News’ Middle East correspondent, where he covered, among other things, the assassination of Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat and the 1982 Israeli incursion into Lebanon. Kent returned to NYC where he became vice president of NBC News Service and NBC News Operations and Satellites. He returned to reporting in 1986 as NBC News National Security correspondent in Washington, D.C., and was the first television news correspondent to report on Oliver North’s involvement in arms sales to Nicaragua. Kent retired from NBC in 1988 and moved to Houston as vice president for corporate communications for Continental Airlines. When he served on the board of Theatre Under the Stars, and later when he was named senior director of public affairs for the Houston Symphony, he felt he had come home to music. Art often said his greatest personal happiness came in the last third of his life when he met and married Christina, a TODAY Show producer. Kent passed away on September 1, 2018 at home in Houston, TX.