Photo of Bill Kurtis

Bill Kurtis

Actor, Producer
Born September 21, 1940 (83 years)
Bill Kurtis (born William Horton Kuretich; September 21, 1940) is an American television journalist, television producer, narrator, and news anchor. He has been noted for his sonorous voice throughout his career. He is most known for narrating A&E's true crime series Cold Case Files as well as American Justice.

Kurtis was studying to become a lawyer in the 1960s, when he was asked to fill in on a temporary news assignment at a television station in Topeka, Kansas. His reporting on a devastating tornado outbreak, led to an on air news reporter and later a very successful news anchor position in Chicago.

In 1982, Kurtis joined Diane Sawyer on The CBS Morning News, the network broadcast from New York City. The two were also on the CBS Early Morning News, which aired an hour earlier on most CBS stations. He also anchored three CBS Reports: The Plane That Fell from the Sky, The Golden Leaf, and The Gift of Life.

He became especially interested in investigative in-depth reports and documentaries. When he returned to Chicago and for a time resumed his anchor duties, he also founded a production company, Kurtis Productions.

Kurtis hosted or produced a number of crime and news documentary shows, including Investigative Reports, American Justice, and Cold Case Files. Kurtis is the scorekeeper/announcer for National Public Radio (NPR)'s news comedy/quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, and served as the host of Through the Decades, a documentary-style news magazine seen on Decades.

Kurtis narrated nearly 1,000 documentaries, and Kurtis Productions produced nearly 500 documentaries for series like The New Explorers on PBS; Investigative Reports and Cold Case Files for the A&E; and Investigating History for the History Channel. He also hosted American Justice, produced by Towers Productions. For CNBC, the company has produced nearly 100 episodes of American Greed.

Kurtis has received two Peabody Awards, numerous Emmy Awards, awards from the Overseas Press Club, a DuPont Award, and has been inducted into the Illinois and Kansas Halls of Fame. In 1998, he was awarded the University of Kansas William Allen White citation. Kurtis has also authored three books: On Assignment (1984), Death Penalty on Trial (2004), and Prairie Table Cookbook (2008).

In the animated series South Park, Eric Cartman owns a board game called "Investigative Reports with Bill Kurtis", featuring a talking Bill Kurtis bust. The boys can be seen playing the game in South Park's season four episode "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" (2000) and season eight episode "Up the Down Steroid" (2004). The game can also be seen on the shelf of a hobby store in the episode "Cock Magic" (2014).

A 1972 report by Bill Kurtis, while a correspondent for CBS News in Los Angeles, was used as the introduction to Dr. Dre's album Compton. Kurtis also contributed a spoken-word introduction to The Dandy Warhols' 2005 album Odditorium or Warlords of Mars.
Known For
  • Cold Case Files (1999)
  • Cold Case Files (2017)
  • American Justice
  • Investigative Reports
  • Cold Case Files: DNA Speaks
  • Mafia: The History of the Mob in America
  • The Unexplained


Cold Case Files: DNA Speaks (TV Series) · as Narrator (voice)
Cold Case Files (2017) (TV Series) · as Narrator (voice)
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues · as Narrator (voice)
Wake Up, Ron Burgundy · as Bill Lawson
Cold Case Files (1999) (TV Series) · as Narrator (voice)
The Unexplained (TV Series) · as Narrator
American Justice (TV Series) · as Host

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