Graduate of Reagan High School in Houston, Texas in the 1950s.
Appeared in disguise as an Afghan peasant for his 1980 "60 Minutes" (1968) on-location reports on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Although he explained that the disguise was necessary for reporting from the war zone, the media ridiculed him, calling him "Gunga Dan". The Soviet press agency Tass later reported Afghan newspaper had accused him of participating in the murder of three villagers while he was in Afghanistan, accusations that he denied and was generally regarded as ridiculous.
During CBS's live coverage of the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention, he saw some men with no identification or badges trying to forcibly remove what appeared to be a Georgia delegate from the building. When he attempted to interview the candidate, one of the men punched him on camera.
Has a Muppet on "Sesame Street" (1969) named after him, the grouch journalist "Dan Rather-Not".
In 1986, he was chased and kicked onto a Manhattan sidewalk by William Tager, a man who kept asking, "Kenneth, what is the frequency?"
On September 11, 1987, he became so furious at the prospect of having his CBS News broadcast delayed by a U.S. Tennis match, that he walked off the set. When he did not return in time for the start of the news, CBS aired a blank screen for over five minutes. The incident was later recalled during his January 1988 interview with then-Vice President George Bush; when Rather questioned him about the Iran-Contra scandal, Bush asked Rather if he would like to have his career judged by the blank screen incident.
In 1991, his car was broken into. Instead of having the criminal arrested, he gave him a lecture on the choices he had made in life. They later met in Kuwait. The man, who was now an Apache pilot, thanked Rather for giving him the lecture and turning his life around.
Was the first guest on "Late Show with David Letterman" (1993) on September 17, 2001 show, Letterman's first show after the September 11, 2001 tragedy. He broke out in tears twice having to describe these terrorist events.
On September 20, 2004, he made a televised apology for the CBS News failing to verify the authenticity of questionably documents used in support of a "60 Minutes II" (1999) story about President George W. Bush's military record in the Texas Air National Guard. A two-person investigative panel formed by CBS said that a "myopic zeal" on the part of the CBS News to break the story, which the panel found to be be neither fair nor accurate and did not meet the organization's internal standards. As a result of the panel's findings, CBS fired four CBS News employees, including three executives. Although the panel placed no specific blame on him, the incident damaged his credibility and was believed to have led to the announcement of his retirement as anchor of the "CBS Evening News".
Announced that he is stepping down as anchor of "The CBS Evening News" in March 2005, on the 24th anniversary of his first broadcast as anchor. He will remain with CBS News as a correspondent for "60 Minutes Sunday" and "60 Minutes Wednesday." [November 2004]