(1921 – 2015)
Before reaching television fame as the host and provocateur of KETC’s Donnybrook, Martin Duggan was perhaps best known as the editorial page editor at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Duggan began his 45-year career at the Globe as a summer employee, assisting the Sunday features editor. After two summers and a stint serving in the Marines during World War II, Duggan was hired on full-time as a copy editor for the news desk. Eventually, Duggan’s nose for news led him to the posts of news editor, associate managing editor, and ultimately editorial page editor, before retiring when the Globe was sold in 1984. Not long after, President Ronald Reagan appointed Duggan chairman of the President’s Advisory Committee on Federal Pay, a post he held for seven consecutive years, from 1984 until 1991.
In 1987, Duggan approached Channel 9 about creating a news program featuring journalists discussing and debating hot topics in a no-holds-barred environment. Twenty-five years later, the Emmy Award-winning Donnybrook is still aired weekly and is the highest-rated local public TV series in the country. Duggan remained at the show’s helm as provocateur 23 years; his last broadcast was in December 2009. Although being Globe news editor tops Duggan’s list of career favorites, Donnybrook holds a special place in his heart. “Channel 9 was kind enough to give us a chance,” Duggan said. “The Donnybrook crew, past and present, were great people to work with.”
Concurrently with Donnybrook, Duggan appeared regularly on other broadcast media. For 15 years, with the late Easy Ed Macauley, he hosted Beat the Press on radio station KSIV. For several years he and his wife Mae hosted Catholic Saint Louis on station WRYT. Along with Ray Hartmann, he argued on KMOX radio and on KTVI in St. Louis. He was interviewed weekly on St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU). Duggan also provided frequent political commentary on St. Louis media.
Duggan fostered his lifelong love of journalism early on. As a student at South Side Catholic High School , he served as editor of the school paper. He would later reprise that role at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, where he received a degree in sociology.
Despite his professional success, Duggan valued his family above everything. “I consider my marriage much more important than my career,” Duggan said.
Duggan and his wife Mae were married for more than 70 years. They were wed on May 26, 1942, shortly before Duggan joined the Marine Corps where he served as a staff sergeant recruiter and a news editor of Marine combat correspondents. Together, the Duggans had five children, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Duggan was a lifelong volunteer in civic organizations. His many charitable posts included vice chairman of the Mathews-Dickey Boys Club and metropolitan area chairman of the National Alliance of Businessmen.
Duggan was among the first people inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. He was designated a distinguished alumnus of St. Mary’s Univ. in San Antonio, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in arts and letters by the Univ. of Missouri St. Louis. Duggan passed away on May 27th, 2015.