In 1989, with co-anchor Diane Sawyer, Donaldson joined President and Mrs. Bush at the White House for a live tour of the first family's living quarters. They also co-anchored an unprecedented broadcast from inside the Kremlin in 1990, where they toured its magnificent palaces and provided a rarely seen look at Lenin's private apartments. Donaldson also reported from Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1989, as part of an hour-long, award-winning investigation of the Pan Am 103 bombing.
In December 1996, Donaldson took the anchor chair next to Cokie Roberts to co-host the ABC News Sunday morning broadcast "This Week with Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts" until September 2002.
From 1999 to 2001, Donaldson hosted SamDonaldson@abcnews.com, the first regularly scheduled Internet webcast produced by a television network. On the webcast he interviewed presidents Carter, Ford and George Bush, along with such diverse personalities as actor Sean Connery, comedian Janeane Garofalo, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and baseball legend Willie Mays.
Donaldson received the AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Award, as well as the RTNDA Paul White Award in 2008. He also received the Broadcaster of the Year award from the National Press Foundation in 1998. The Washington Journalism Review named him the Best Television White House Correspondent in the Business in 1985. He has also won numerous other awards, among them four Emmy Awards, four Paul White and Edward R. Murrow Awards and three George Foster Peabody Awards.
Born in El Paso, Texas, Donaldson began his career in broadcasting as a college student at the age of 17, working for local radio stations in his hometown and has enjoyed reporting on the radio ever since. He received his bachelor's degree from Texas Western College and did graduate work at the University of Southern California.
Donaldson served on active duty with the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1959, rising to the rank of Captain, USAR. After resuming his broadcasting career at KRLD-TV in Dallas in 1959, he joined WTOP-TV in Washington, D.C. in 1961, where, along with local and regional news, he covered such national stories as the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy's funeral in 1963, passage of the Senate passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and the 1965 Senate hearings on the Vietnam. He also anchored the station's weekend news broadcasts and produced and moderated a weekly interview program.
His 1987 autobiography, "Hold On, Mr. President," was an international best-seller.