Elizabeth Vargas' Biography

PHOTO: Elizabeth Vargas is co-anchor of ABC News 20/20.Heidi Gutman/ABC News
Elizabeth Vargas is co-anchor of ABC News' '20/20.'

As an award-winning ABC News anchor, Elizabeth Vargas has traveled the world covering breaking news stories, reporting in-depth investigations, and conducting newsmaker interviews. She is currently the co-anchor of “20/20” with David Muir. Vargas is also the author of “Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction” released in 2016.

Some recent highlights from “20/20” have been covering Christian refugees escaping ISIS in Iraq, profiling the Angulo Family who were at the center of the award-winning documentary “Wolf Pack,” and interviewing Olympic star Suzy Favor Hamilton about her about her secret descent into the world of high priced prostitution. Vargas has also reported for a popular series on “20/20” called Searchers about individuals on emotional quests to find long-lost family members. She reported extensively on the Amanda Knox case, the American exchange student accused of murder, from Perugia, Italy and spoke exclusively with the high school boys accused of sexual assault in the Steubenville rape trial.

In 2016, Vargas anchored the breaking news live network coverage of the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting, the ambush in Dallas where five police officers were killed, the death of pop star Prince and the passing of boxing icon Muhammad Ali. Vargas also anchored live coverage of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. Her story on the hero NICU nurses of Hurricane Sandy was part of the ABC News’ Peabody Award winning coverage. In 2011 Vargas anchored coverage of the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. During the historic Iraqi elections in December 2005, she reported extensively for "World News Tonight" from Baghdad. She has interviewed leaders from around the world, including President George W. Bush from the Oval Office in the White House. Her international coverage has sent her to Beslan, Russia, where she found stories of hope after rebels attacked a school and killed more than 300 people, over half of them children. She also reported from the Middle East for a special on the resurrection of Jesus and reported from Cambodia on the plight of orphans and questionable international adoption practices there. In 2000 Vargas won an Emmy for Outstanding Instant Coverage of a News Story for anchoring live coverage of the Elian Gonzalez case.

The New York Times credited Vargas in November 2004 as reinvigorating the newsmagazine format with her “intellectually brave" reporting of an examination of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a young man whose murder gained national attention as an anti-gay crime. In November 2003, she anchored "Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci," an hour investigating many theories raised in the bestselling novel "The Da Vinci Code." And her February 2001 exclusive interview with the owners of two dogs that killed a San Francisco woman was so revealing, prosecutors in the case say it was critical to winning convictions against the couple. More recently Vargas hosted "Human Footprint," a ground-breaking National Geographic special that followed the cradle-to-grave consumption of an average American boy and girl, which aired in April 2008. Vargas was previously co-anchor of "World News Tonight," anchor of "World News Tonight Sunday," news anchor and frequent co-host on "Good Morning America," correspondent for "20/20" and "Primetime Thursday," and co-anchor of "Primetime Monday." She joined ABC News from NBC News, where she was a correspondent and anchor, primarily for "Dateline NBC" and "Today." At NBC she also served as substitute anchor for the weekend editions of "NBC Nightly News." She joined NBC News in 1993 as a correspondent for the newsmagazine "Now With Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric."

Prior to joining NBC News, Vargas spent four years as a reporter and anchor for WBBM-TV, the CBS owned and operated station in Chicago. From 1986-89, she was the lead reporter for KTVK-TV, the ABC affiliate in Phoenix. Earlier she worked as a reporter/anchor for KTVN-TV, the CBS affiliate in Reno, Nev. Vargas graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., where she began her broadcasting career as a reporter/anchor for KOMU-TV.