Today Show Anchor Retires: Mike Leonard Leaves After 31 Years (VIDEO)

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(Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)An NBC sign above the Today Show Studios in New York October 5, 2009.

Mike Leonard, Today Show anchor, has retired from broadcasting, according to an official announcement by the veteran news anchor at the NBC television network.

Leonard has been one of the most recognizable faces on The Today Show team, playing an influential role in the program's success over the past three decades.

The anchor has become famous for anchoring news stories about every day Americans achieving amazing, and at times unusual things.

The NBC veteran made his official retirement announcement on Thursday, offering a tribute to his wife, Cathy. Leonard explained that she had inspired him in his work and taught him to "see the beauty in our everyday existence."

Matt Lauer spoke after Mike's final segment, saying: "Your stories...are a microcosm of you. They all have incredible heart, they're told with kindness, and hope, and modesty. They are understated and yet so powerful, and that is you in a nutshell."

Savannah Guthrie also chimed in saying, "You have an amazing gift, an amazing talent."

The Today Show's website,, has paid tribute to the man, and in one part describes one of Leonard's favorite stories - about a Chicago mailman.

Leonard is also part of a family video production company, Picture Show Films. The company uses digital video exclusively and edits its projects on PowerBooks. Picture Show has produced critically acclaimed television shows, features for PBS, ESPN, and other news outlets, and videos for fund-raising, corporate training, and other projects. Picture Show is also credited for producing The Brendan Leonard Show, hosted by his son Brendan Leonard.

In 2006, Leonard published The Ride of Our Lives: Roadside Lessons of an American Family, about a month-long road trip he took with his parents and grown children in an RV.

Leonard has four grown children, Matt, Megan, Kerry, and Brendan, and five grandchildren, and currently resides in Winnetka, Illinois with his wife, Cathy.

Here is a video showing Mike Leonard's 1000th Story: