NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt was once rejected from NBC before going on to become the face of the network. Now, he has donated that letter to the California Museum in Sacramento.
On Wednesday, he was among eight new inductees into the California Hall of Fame at the museum, where he recalled details of a letter he now laughs about.
“Apparently when I was 18-years-old–it was about three months after I got out of high school–I had applied for a radio position at NBC in New York,” Holt said, sharing his memory with KCRA reporter Kellie DeMarco.
“And I found the rejection letter, basically saying ‘thanks, you’re not what we’re looking for. Best of luck.’ And I just looked at it and I just laughed out loud. I thought, now I’m the face of NBC News.” He continued, “It’s just one of those reminders, that anything could happen.”
Holt was born in California and attended college in Sacramento. He had also interned for KCRA at one point. He told DeMarco that he was “tickled” when he received the notice that he was being inducted. His wife Carol said “for him to be honored for all of his hard work, it really warms my heart.”
Holt replaced anchor Brian Williams this past June after Williams was suspended from the network after it was revealed that he had been dishonest in some of his reporting. He now covers breaking news at MSNBC.
Other inductees at the ninth annual event included actor Robert Downey, Jr., artist David Hockney, martial arts star Bruce Lee, astronaut Ellen Ochoa, music icon Buck Owens, cartoonist Charles M. Schultz and Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.