As we conclude our “Where Are They Now?” series, we talk with former ‘Good Morning America’ host David Hartman.
It happened again just recently at a bagel shop in Durham, North Carolina.
A woman eating breakfast looked up from her table, and upon seeing the tall, recognizable man walking by, smiled and said to him, “Make it a good day today!”
The man was former Good Morning America host David Hartman. The woman was citing the famous sign-off he used at the close of each broadcast during his 1975-1987 tenure.
The phrase viewers still cite today “goes back to my childhood,” Hartman, 79, tells TVNewser. “My parents said ‘hey, the responsibility for your life is you. So if you want something to happen, you’re going to make it happen – don’t wait for anybody else to bring it to you.’”
And David Hartman has always made things happen.
A Rhode Island native, he was a talented young athlete who, as a high school student, was offered a pro baseball contract. Opting instead to enroll at Duke University, Hartman majored in economics, while participating in choral and orchestra activities and in the school’s Air Force ROTC. He also did radio and TV announcing, and was president of his fraternity.
After graduation, he served in the Air Force before pursuing an acting and singing career. In 1964, Hartman landed a role in the original Broadway production of Hello, Dolly!. Later, he starred in primetime TV shows such as NBC’s The Bold Ones and Lucas Tanner.
Hartman then began producing educational documentary programming for ABC. Birth and Babies “showed the birth of a baby for the first time on American television,” he says of the 1974 show, which caught the attention of network executives.
They invited him to host ABC’s new morning program, which had the unenviable task of going up against NBC’s venerable Today.