Queer Places:
35 Highland Ave, Port Washington, NY 11050
Harvard University (Ivy League), 2 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Nassau Knolls Cemetery Port Washington, Nassau County, New York, USA

Hartford N. Gunn Jr. (December 24, 1926 – January 2, 1986) was the founding President of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).[1] A lifelong bachelor, Hartford lived a quiet, discrete homosexual private life. Gunn laboriously testified before state legislatures and the U.S. congress to get a public television network off the ground. During his presidency of PBS, he survived some acrimonious confrontations with the Nixon administration. The hiring of Sander Vanocur and Robert MacNeil as principal correspondents for NPACT (National Public Affairs Center for Television) greatly disturbed President Nixon, who saw it as "the last straw" and demanded that all funds for public television be cut immediately. It was Gunn and the folks at PBS who prevailed. The influential “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” aired until MacNeil retired in 1995; it lives on as the PBS NewsHour, and MacNeil is still one of the primary producers. Robert MacNeil, who has a gay son, famously took part in a panel discussion of news anchors for the 1993 convention of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. MacNeil, who was once an aspiring actor and playwright, enjoys following the career of his son Ian MacNeil, a set designer who won a 2009 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for Billy Elliot: The Musical. In a 1994 episode of The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, father and son openly discussed their relationship.

Gunn was born in Port Washington, New York. In 1969 as manager of WGBH-TV, Gunn invited Fred Rogers to accompany him and testify before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications in support of the full funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.[2] In 1970 he was chosen as the first president of the Public Broadcasting Service, at least in part due to his “widely acknowledged success in the 1960s at the Boston television station WGBH.” At the time he started (after receiving an MBA at the Harvard Business School in 1951),[3] WGBH was an FM radio station. He helped it add the television station there and became the general manager.[1] He started in 1952, a year after he graduated.[4] Gunn became vice-chairman of PBS in 1976. He was general manager of KCET, (at the time it was the public TV station in Los Angeles) from 1979 until 1983. Before his death he worked as a public television consultant in Annapolis, Maryland where he had lived.[1]

On January 2, 1986, Gunn died of cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital at the age of 59.[1]

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