Less than a week after his retirement, CBS News has confirmed that “60 Minutes”; correspondent Morley Safer has passed away at age 84.
For 46 years, Morley Safer brought viewers in-depth reports on everything from the Vietnam war to the Bernie Madoff scandal on the iconic CBS newsmagazine until he announced his retirement from CBS News on May 11. To commemorate his retirement, CBS aired “Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life” on Sunday, May 15, looking back at some of Safer’s most memorable stories.
Born in Toronto, Safer eventually became an American citizen, but held dual citizenship. As he explained to Macleans in a 1998 interview, he admitted that he felt “stateless”; — something that he considered a journalistic advantage. “I bring a different perspective and I have no vested interests,”; he said.
Safer began his career writing for newspapers in Woodstock, ON and London, ON, before landing a job in London, England, then returning to Toronto to work as a reporter and editor at the CBC. This eventually landed him on the air.
After continuing his career in the US, Safer joined “60 Minutes”; in 1970, and filed a staggering 919 stories for the show.
“Morley was one of the most important journalists in any medium, ever,”; said CBS Chairman and CEO, Leslie Moonves in a statement. “He broke ground in war reporting and made a name that will forever be synonymous with ’60 Minutes’. He was also a gentleman, a scholar, a great raconteur — all of those things and much more to generations of colleagues, his legion of friends, and his family, to whom all of us at CBS offer our sincerest condolences over the loss of one of CBS’ and journalism’s greatest treasures.”;
Added CBS News President David Rhodes: “Morley Safer helped create the CBS News we know today. No correspondent had more extraordinary range, from war reporting to coverage of every aspect of modern culture. His writing alone defined original reporting. Everyone at CBS News will sorely miss Morley.”;
In a 2000 interview with the American Archive of Television, Safer summed up his legacy in journalism.
“I have a pretty solid body of work that emphasized the words, emphasized ideas and the craft of writing for this medium,”; he said. “It’s not literary, I wouldn’t presume to suggest that. But I think you can elevate it a little bit sometimes with the most important part of the medium, which is what people are saying — whether they’re the people being interviewed or the guy who’s telling the story. It’s not literature, but it can be very classy journalism.”;
Following news of Safer’s death, numerous celebrities and fellow journalists took to Twitter to pay tribute:
— Kevin Zegers (@KevinZegers) May 19, 2016
Safer is rightly celebrated for his urbanity and wit – making it all the more remarkable to watch his tough minded dispatches from Vietnam
— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) May 19, 2016
Morley Safer was a good friend. I’m sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful journalist and all-around terrific guy. Rest in peace, Morley.
— Larry King (@kingsthings) May 19, 2016