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Elizabeth Vargas

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Biography

Elizabeth Vargas (born September 6, 1962 in Paterson, New Jersey) is a television journalist, currently co-anchor of ABC's television newsmagazine 20/20 and anchor of ABC News Specials.

Vargas was born to a Puerto Rican father, who was a Colonel in the U.S. Army and an Irish-American mother. She spent her youth moving from base to base in Germany, Belgium and Japan.

Vargas graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, where she made her debut broadcast as a reporter/anchor for KOMU-TV.

Vargas is the first woman to anchor an evening newscast in the U.S. since Connie Chung, and the first woman of Puerto Rican and Irish American heritage to be named a network nightly news anchor. She is said to be particularly proud of an ABC special report in which she questioned why the Laci Peterson case merited more attention than two other similar cases, one involving a black woman and the other involving a Hispanic woman. Another story she did, based on the book The Da Vinci Code and the role of Mary Magdalene, helped fuel a nationwide religious debate. Vargas stated that for centuries Mary Magdalene has been portrayed as a prostitute by the church, despite evidence to the contrary. She went on to question the strictly limited role of women within the church. In 1999, she won an Emmy Award for her coverage of the Elián González story and in 1998, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for her 20/20 investigation into the wrongful conviction of Betty Tyson.

As Peter Jennings was receiving chemotherapy for his lung cancer in April 2005, she and Charles Gibson temporarily filled in for him on World News Tonight until his death in August. After a period of mourning and indecision, she and Woodruff were chosen as co-anchors on December 5, 2005.

On May 23, 2006, Vargas announced her resignation from WNT. Gibson was then named sole anchor of the show, effective from May 29, 2006, replacing Vargas and her injured co-anchor Bob Woodruff. To explain the sudden change, Vargas cited her doctors' recommendation to cut back her schedule considerably due to a difficult pregnancy and her wish to spend more time with her new baby when he arrives. Most "inside accounts", however, claimed she fully expected and wished to return to the anchor chair soon after giving birth, but Gibson threatened to quit the network if he wasn't made sole permanent anchor. According to these sources, his gambit succeeded and she was left embittered, although not enough to sever ties with the network. In late 2006, Vargas returned as co-anchor of 20/20 and primary presenter of ABC News specials.

Elizabeth Vargas is married to Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, whom she met at the 1999 U.S. Open after being introduced by Andre Agassi. The couple have two children, Zachary Raphael Cohn, born January 31, 2003, and Samuel Wyatt Cohn, born August 16, 2006. Vargas also has two stepchildren, Max and Emily, from Cohn's previous marriage.

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