Born in Manhattan and raised in the suburb of Levittown, N.Y., Bill O’Reilly had a blue-collar, ethnic upbringing common in the Northeast. He attended Chaminade High School, and spent most of his childhood playing sports and annoying teachers.
O’Reilly went on to attend Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he wrote a column for the school newspaper and played football. In his junior year, O’Reilly was accepted into an overseas program, and studied at the University of London. He received a B.A. in history from Marist.
Upon graduation, O’Reilly began teaching at Monsignor Pace High School in a suburb of Miami. After two years, he returned to college and earned an M.A. in broadcast journalism from Boston University.
Then O’Reilly’s television career began. His first stop was WNEP-TV in Scranton-Wilkes Barre, Pa. He then landed at WFAA-TV in Dallas, where he won a Dallas Press Club Award for excellence in investigative reporting. From Dallas, it was on to KMGH-TV in Denver, where O’Reilly won an Emmy for his coverage of a skyjacking.
After two years in the Rocky Mountains, O’Reilly returned to the East Coast and joined WCBS-TV in New York City, where he won his second Emmy for an investigation of corrupt city marshals. O’Reilly was then promoted to the CBS network, where he reported on the wars in El Salvador and the Falkland Islands from his base in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
O’Reilly’s career as an anchor began at the CBS and ABC affiliates in Boston, and continued at KATU-TV in Portland, Ore., before he joined ABC News as a correspondent in 1986. While at ABC, O’Reilly appeared on The World News broadcast nearly 100 times, and received a National Headliner Award for excellence in investigative reporting for a series of exposés on the Bradley fighting vehicle.
In February 1989, O’Reilly took over for David Frost as the anchor of the nationally syndicated program “Inside Edition.” Under the O’Reilly reign, the program reached its ratings zenith, and was rarely out of the top 10 in syndicated rankings. While at “Inside,” O’Reilly was the first national anchor to broadcast live from the scene of the riots in Los Angeles, and was named reporter of the year by the New York Crime Victims organization.
During his 20-year career, O’Reilly has reported from all over the world, including Vietnam, Kuwait, Berlin, Brazil, Australia, Japan, France, Romania and England. In addition, O’Reilly penned an opinion column in The Boston Herald for seven years, and his articles have appeared in publications such as Newsweek magazine, The New York Times, and Parade magazine.
O’Reilly was accepted into the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in early 1995. He subsequently resigned from his job at “Inside Edition,” and prepared to go back to school by writing his first book, “Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Murder and Television.”
In the spring of 1996, O’Reilly received an M.A. in public policy from Harvard, and immediately took a job as the executive producer and anchor of “The O’Reilly Factor” on the then-new Fox News Channel, which is now the top-rated cable news program in the world.
In May 2002, he is to begin hosting a nationally syndicated radio program, while continuing to write his weekly newspaper column, which is syndicated by Worldnetdaily.com.
He has written two bestselling books so far: The O’Reilly Factor, and his newest, The No Spin Zone. Mel Gibson’s film company has optioned his novel for movie adaptation.
O’Reilly lives on Long Island, and still plays touch football with childhood friends. His other hobbies include collecting American historical documents, diving, and sleeping as much as possible.