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Maurice James "Mac" McGarry (June 15, 1926 – December 12, 2013) was the longtime host of the television quiz show It's Academic, which airs in Washington, D.C. on NBC-owned WRC-TV. He hosted the show for five decades, from October 7, 1961, when it first aired, until June 25, 2011.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1926, he attended Regis High School in New York City. McGarry attended college at Fordham University. McGarry joined NBC in 1950 for station WNBW, located in the Wardman Park Hotel. There he worked as the announcer for the NBC radio show American Forum of the Air. During this time, he was also making his first forays into television covering Harry S. Truman's presidential inauguration events for NBC-TV and appearing regularly on NBC's The Big Preview. From that time until the onset of illness in 2011, he hosted numerous talk shows, including In Our Town, the first weekly television program to be broadcast in color.
Some of McGarry's first assignments included announcing news of the start of the Korean War and introducing President Truman from the White House. In the early 1950s, he was involved in early color television experiments. During the 1970s/80s, he was the announcer for NBC News Updates originating in Washington, D.C., and over the years also did live booth announcing work for WRC-TV.
In September 2011, McGarry temporarily took a leave of absence when he was suffering from a lingering cold. Hillary Howard, a news anchor for WTOP-FM, began filling in for him. Although McGarry's intentions were to continue hosting the 51st season of It's Academic, he announced his retirement in early November 2011 due to health issues. Howard subsequently continued on as the permanent host.
McGarry was a charter member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' (NATAS) Silver Circle. Other honors include: