Don Lemon is an American television journalist who is well known for hosting shows on CNN. He has won several awards including an Edward R. Murrow Award and three regional Emmy Awards. He was a correspondent for NBC on its programs and joined CNN in 2006.
Don Lemon was born on March 1, 1966, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Katherine Marie (Bouligney) and Wilmon Lee Richardson.
He attended Baker High School in East Baton Rouge Parish and was voted class president during his senior year.
He later attended Louisiana State University and Brooklyn College, where he graduated with a major in broadcast journalism in 1996.
During his early days as a journalist, Lemon anchored weekend news programs on local television stations in Alabama and Pennsylvania. He worked as a news correspondent for NBC on its programming, such as Today and NBC Nightly News.
Later, he worked for Fox affiliates in St. Louis and Chicago and was a correspondent for NBC affiliates in Philadelphia and Chicago.
He joined CNN in 2006 as a correspondent and achieved prominence as the presenter of Don Lemon Tonight from 2014 to 2022. Recently, he served as a co-host of CNN This Morning alongside Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow, before his firing from CNN in 2023.
Don Lemon’s father was a prominent attorney who successfully challenged segregation of public transportation in Baton Rouge. His mother’s then-husband gave him his surname, but he discovered that Wilmon was his father when he was five. Lemon is of mostly African-American ancestry, along with Creole. His maternal grandmother was the daughter of a black mother and a white father, who had French and Scots-Irish ancestry.
Early Career Don Lemon worked as a weekend news anchor for WBRC in Birmingham and for WCAU in Philadelphia before joining Fox affiliate KTVI in St. Louis, Missouri and Fox’s Chicago affiliate as an anchor and investigative reporter. He also worked for NBC News’s New York City operations as a correspondent for both Today and NBC Nightly News and as an anchor on Weekend Today and programs on MSNBC. He began working at NBC owned-and-operated station WMAQ-TV in Chicago in 2003, where he won three Emmys for local reporting.
Career at CNN Lemon joined CNN in September 2006, and since then, he has been an outspoken critic of cable news, even questioning the network publicly.
He has also voiced strong opinions on ways that the African American community can improve their lives. In 2014, he began hosting prime time shows for CNN, and he became the permanent host of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. He has also participated in CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live as a correspondent.
Podcast and Program Name Change In May 2021, Lemon announced that he, along with Chris Cuomo, would launch a podcast named The Handoff, and on May 17, 2021, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon was retitled Don Lemon Tonight. Lemon apologized for teasing the rebranding, stating that he “didn’t mean to set the internet on fire.”
Jussie Smollett and Criticism During testimony of Jussie Smollett on December 6, 2021, he claimed that Lemon sent a text that the Chicago Police Department had doubts about his account of what transpired. Lemon has received criticism for not mentioning his role in the case when he reported on the trial.
The Don Lemon Show In February 2022, it was announced that Lemon would host The Don Lemon Show for CNN’s streaming service, CNN+. However, only two episodes managed to be released in the service’s sole month of operation in April 2022, before shutting down.
New Morning Show On September 15, 2022, Lemon was announced as the co-anchor for a new CNN morning show with Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow named CNN This Morning.
Political Commentary Lemon’s criticism of the Trump administration and accusations of racism made him a target of the president. In January 2018, Lemon proclaimed that “The president of the United States is racist.”
In October 2018, during a discussion on Cuomo Prime Time, Lemon argued that domestic terrorism by white supremacist Americans were a bigger threat to the safety of the country than foreigners. His remarks were criticized by conservative figures.
Don Lemon was previously married to Stephanie Ortiz until their divorce in 2010
Don Lemon first wife: Who Is Stephanie Ortiz?
Stephanie Ortiz is a model and actress born on 17 July 1982 in California, USA. She gained fame through various commercials for brands such as Levi’s and Dr. Pepper. She also appeared in various television projects and films including “A Kiss of Chaos”.
As a child, Stephanie appeared in commercials. Her first notable project was for a commercial of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, also known as Best Foods in other areas.
This helped her gain appearances in other commercials such as for Puma and Benetton, a global fashion brand that originated in Italy and has since expanded to international markets.
Stephanie’s television appearances helped her gain opportunities in print and catwalk modeling. Her success in modeling led her to travel to and temporarily reside in various parts of Asia and Europe.
Ortiz was also the host of a show called “Vibe on Demand”, which primarily aired in New Zealand. Her work as a host led her to more acting opportunities.
Ortiz’s acting work includes a role in the 2011 short film called “The Grasslands”. This film is about a man living in The Bronx who is searching for his father’s killer from 20 years ago. It was a finalist for an Academy Award in the short film category.
Ortiz also worked on a thriller film called “A Kiss of Chaos”. The movie tells the story of an artist who encounters two people from her past on the same day, leading her to danger.
The film won the Best Showcase Feature Film Award during the Soho International Film Festival.