News Column

Veteran American Journalist Mike Wallace Dies

April 9, 2012
Mike Wallace

Veteran American TV interviewer Mike Wallace, who was famed for his interviews with many of the world's leaders, has died aged 93.

The CBS grand inquisitor was a household name for decades in the country, where he presented the channel's 60 Minutes show.

Wallace interviewed seven US presidents from John F Kennedy onwards, with the exception of George W Bush.

He also grilled the likes of Yasser Arafat, Ayatollah Khomeini and Deng Xiaoping.

Other famous figures to have submitted themselves to Wallace's questions included Malcolm X, singer Janis Joplin, Martin Luther King Jr, television star Johnny Carson, pianist Vladimir Horowitz and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

The TV station announced the former presenter had died on Saturday evening, with his family by his side at a care centre in New Haven, Connecticut, where he lived.

Anchorman Bob Schieffer said on Face the Nation, the CBS Sunday morning news show: "He was one of the great pioneers in journalism. We are all going to miss him."

Just about anyone who made news in the past six decades had to submit to a grilling by Wallace. In almost 40 years on 60 Minutes, the investigative journalism programme, he worked on some 800 reports, won 20 Emmys and developed a relentless on-air style that often was more interrogation than interview.

He drew criticism for his style, and the theatrics that sometimes accompanied it, and became caught up in a number of legal actions, including a $120million (pound(s)75m) libel suit that resulted in no judgment against him or CBS but triggered a case of depression that led him to attempt suicide.

He spent 38 seasons with the show before announcing his retirement in 2006, but remained as correspondent emeritus and occasionally contributed to the news magazine and CBS News platforms.

Wallace said on retiring: "To go around the world, to talk to almost anybody you want to talk to, to have enough time on the air so that you could really tell a full story - what a voyage of discovery it was."

His investigative reporting in the 1990s revealed the secrets of the tobacco industry and inspired the movie The Insider.

Wallace also made his name as a war correspondent in the 1960s, covering Vietnam.

He started his career in the 1940s as a broadcaster for Chicago Sun. He joined CBS News in 1951 and returned in 1963 after leaving in 1955.

Source: (C) 2012 The Herald.

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