Thursday, November 9, 2006


Today CBS newsman Ed Bradley passed away in NYC of leukemia. He was 65.

For the last 26 years, he served as one of the correspondents on '60 Minutes'. My brother, who's an editor at the Waterbury Republican-American, remembers when Don Hewitt, the show's former executive producer, told an anecdote at Columbia's School of Journalism about the only story they could never wrestle into shape to be presentable on '60 Minutes', and that "it had to be one Ed Bradley's."

He can't remember what the piece was about, but I imagine that whatever difficulties they had with it was due to Bradley sticking to his guns about how it should be presented.

Along with his work on '60 Minutes' and 'Street Stories', Bradley also served as host for the reworked presentations of '60 Minutes' interviews which dealt with classic television when they were presented as 'TV Land Legends'.

While covering a story in Cambodia back in 1973, Bradley was shot and wounded. "In the instant that that round landed and blew me in the air, I had those separate and distinct thoughts. The guy who was standing right next to where I had been standing had a hole in his back I could put my fist into. I got some shrapnel in my back and it blew a hole through my arm. It just sliced through my arm, so I was lucky. I was lucky."

From his CBS News biography:

Bradley's 60 MINUTES interview with condemned Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh (March 2000) was the only television interview ever given by the man guilty of one of the worst terrorist acts on American soil; it also earned Bradley an Emmy. His reporting on the worst school shooting in American history, "Columbine" (April 2001), revealed on 60 MINUTES II that authorities ignored telling evidence with which they might have prevented the massacre.

Other hourlong reports by Bradley have prompted praise and action: "Death by Denial" (June 2000) won a Peabody Award for focusing on the plight of Africans dying of AIDS and helped convince drug companies to donate and discount AIDS drugs; "Unsafe Haven" (April 1999) spurred federal investigations into the nation's largest chain of psychiatric hospitals; and "Town Under Siege" (December 1997), about a small town battling toxic waste, was named one of the Ten Best Television Programs of 1997 by Time magazine.

Bradley's significant contribution to electronic journalism was also recognized by the Radio/Television News Directors Association when it named him its Paul White Award winner for 2000. He joins other distinguished journalists, such as Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and Peter Jennings, as a Paul White recipient.

Mike Wallace, a cohost on 60 Minutes, remarked that Bradley's approach is "instinctive—he has no idea how he does it." Bradley himself resists analyzing his style. He said in an interview, "I'd rather not think about it and just go out and do it, and it will come naturally."

Bradley has a long list of awards. In 1975 he won the Overseas Press Club of America Award for best radio news from abroad. He received an award from the Association of Black Journalists in 1977. His 1979 television documentary, “The Boat People,” earned him an Emmy Award, Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club of America, and Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for Broadcast Journalism. Bradley’s television documentary, “Blacks in America: With All Deliberate Speed,” won him an Emmy Award, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award in Broadcast Journalism, a George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award from University of Georgia, and an Ohio State award. In 1995, Bradley won his eleventh Emmy, and was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award grand prize and television first prize for his documentary “CBS Reports: In the Killing Fields of America.” In 2000, the Radio-Television News Directors Association honored Bradley with the Paul White Award. In 2002 he received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award.

Here's Ed Bradley, from when he appeared on 'Larry King Live':

BRADLEY: Well, Lena Horn, was certainly -- I've always said when I die and if I do get to the pearly gates and St. Peter says, what have you done to deserve entry, I'd ask him if he saw my Lena Horn piece. It's always been a favorite of mine.

When Bradley interviewed singer Lena Horne (1917–) in December 1981, TV Guide described the journalist's work as "a textbook example of what a great television interview can be."

Bradley alternated Horne's performances with interview segments in which Horne discussed her personal and professional life. Bradley created an intimate (personal) portrait of the singer. Bradley said "it told a lot about the way women are treated, a lot of things about the way blacks are treated. It told a lot of things about interracial marriages, difficulties in the film and entertainment industries and how those things have changed and not changed."

"Lena" won Bradley his first Emmy as a member of the 60 Minutes team.

In closing, I just want to reprint this excerpt from the Congressional Record from thirteen years ago in tribute to the departed newsman:

in the House of Representatives

Mr. BLACKWELL: Mr. Speaker, I am extremely delighted to stand here today to pay tribute to Mr. Ed Bradley, an exceptional gentleman who is well respected for his extraordinary accomplishments and contributions in the field of media broadcasting.

Born in Philadelphia, as the only child of Edward and Gladys Bradley, Ed Bradley has long been known for his ability to boldly face any challenge that is set before him with professionalism and vigor.

In 1959, he entered Cheyney State College as an education major. In addition to his interest in the field of education, Bradley also exhibited a profound enthusiasm in the area of media broadcast. In the early 1960's he worked as an unpaid news reporter and disc jockey at WDAS-FM in Philadelphia whereby he made a remarkable contribution.

Upon graduation from Cheyney, Bradley began his teaching career in a Philadelphia elementary school. While teaching the sixth grade in the 1960's, he became increasingly interested in events that took place during the historic civil rights movement. As a result, he utilized his journalistic talents and spent 48 hours covering the race riots in Philadelphia.

Following that event, he divided his time between teaching, working as a disc jockey, and as a news reporter. In 1967, Bradley made the decision to become a news reporter on a full-time basis. He vigorously sought out to begin his career by applying for a job with WCBS radio in New York.

Many say that the secret to Ed Bradley's success has a lot to do with his honesty, innovative style, and commitment to quality productions.

In 1971 he joined CBS News as a stringer in the Paris Bureau. By September 1972, he was reassigned to Southeast Asia where he covered the Vietnam war as a television correspondent. Unfortunately, during that time he was wounded by mortar fire while on assignment in Cambodia. Nevertheless, his injury did not halt his commitment to his work. In 1974 he returned to Southeast Asia to cover the evacuation of the last Americans in Vietnam.

In 1976, Bradley was assigned to cover the Presidential campaign, covering Jimmy Carter. After Carter became President, he served as a CBS White House correspondent. In 1976 he left that position to become the principal correspondent for CBS Reports.

Bradley received much praise and notoriety for his reports, some of the most outstanding include:

`The Boat People,' written in January 1979; won: Emmy, Alfred I duPont Columbia University, and Oversees Press Club Awards;

`The Boston Goes to China,' written in April 1979; a report on the historic visit by the Boston Symphony Orchestra to China; won: Emmy, George Foster Peabody, and Ohio State Awards;

`Blacks in America: With All Deliberate Speed?' written in July 1979; won: Emmy and Alfred I duPont-Columbia University Awards.

This list of outstanding works, led Bradley to attain overwhelming success and respect as a leader in his field. As a result, in 1981, he joined the well-known `60 Minutes' as a co-editor.

During the time that he has been with `60 Minutes,' Ed Bradley has completed a number of phenomenal reports. His valuable work has been both insightful and inspiring. Much of Ed Bradley's work has exposed both the positive and negative things that occur in the world around us; but most of all, he has helped to educate millions of people through the broadcast media.

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely happy to congratulate Ed Bradley on his vast achievements. He is definitely a role model and a highly skilled professional. Most of all, he has gained his place as a significant part of African-American history, of which we can all be proud.

"60 Minutes" .... Himself - Correspondent / Himself (35 episodes, 1981-2006)
"TV Land Legends: The 60 Minutes Interviews" (2002) TV Series .... Host
"Street Stories" (1992) TV Series .... Himself - Host (1992-1993)

CBS at 75 (2003) (TV) .... Himself
Breaking the News (2001) (TV) .... Himself
CBS: The First 50 Years (1998) (TV) .... Himself
We Were There: CBS News at 50 (1998) (TV) .... Himself
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1995) (TV) .... Himself
60 Minutes: The Entertainers (1991) (TV) .... Himself

"Murphy Brown" .... Himself (1 episode, 1993)
- All the Life That's Fit to Print (1993) TV Episode .... Himself

The Last Party (1993) (uncredited) .... Himself (at GOP convention)


"When it gets to the point where it's not fun anymore,
I've always hoped that I would have the courage to say goodbye and walk away from it. "
Ed Bradley

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