Tributes To Trailblazer Ed Bradley
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Editor, The Konformist
The Konformist salutes the late, great Ed Bradley, undisputedly the
classiest, fairest, and most thoughtful member of the 60 Minutes
bunch. While 60 Minutes often proclaimed it was the vanguard of
mainstream journalism, Bradley was the only one who consistently
lived up to it...
Tributes To Trailblazer Ed Bradley
NEW YORK, Nov. 10, 2006
(CBS) From dignitaries to average television viewers, tributes
poured in for Ed Bradley, the veteran 60 Minutes correspondent who
died Thursday in New York at the age of 65.
At the White House, President Bush said he and first lady Laura Bush
were "deeply saddened by the death of Ed Bradley." Mr. Bush
remembered Bradley for producing "distinctive investigative reports
that inspired action and cemented his reputation as one of the most
accomplished journalists of our time."
At CBS News, where Bradley spent 35 years, including 26 with 60
Minutes, friends and colleagues offered their remembrances.
Bradley was "a kind, gentle, strong man. A first-rate reporter and a
first-rate human being," said fellow 60 Minutes correspondent Mike
Wallace. "When he laughed, he laughed whole-heartedly from down
deep. He was just an absolutely delightful man."
CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer said
Bradley "was simply the coolest person I have ever known. He was a
great observer of the American scene with a shrewd eye and a
terrific sense of humor. And let me tell you, no one ever put one
over on Ed Bradley."
Bradley died at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan of complications
from chronic lymphatic leukemia.
His consummate skills as a broadcast journalist and his distinctive
body of work were recognized with numerous awards, including 19
Emmys, the latest for a segment that reported the reopening of the
50-year-old racial murder case of Emmett Till.
As one of the most visible black journalists on television, Bradley
broke down racial barriers and became a role model for young African
"The pressure is there," Bradley said. "It's been there every day of
Bradley was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award from the
National Association of Black Journalists. Three of his Emmys came
at the 2003 awards: a Lifetime Achievement Emmy; one for a 60
Minutes report on brain cancer patients, "A New Lease on Life;" and
another for an hour-long piece about sexual abuse in the Catholic
Church, "The Catholic Church on Trial."
Viewers who watched Bradley's reports over the years shared their
thoughts on CBSNews.com.
"My wife and I wept at the news of Ed Bradley's passing. She
said, 'He came into our home every Sunday with something important
to say'. He did indeed. I don't write these types of 'fan letters'
but Bradley was extraordinary," said RJGATOR.
"Ed Bradley will be sorely missed in our household and by countless
admirers," said joycenbill. "His ability to give us the heart and
soul of the people or stories he reported upon was extraordinarily
And jtmjc wrote: "We loved Ed Bradley here in New Orleans, he was
here in town this past Jazz fest in May, and he got on stage with
Irma Thomas and watched behind the stage as Lionel Richie performed
his set. We will miss his COOLNESS."
Ed Bradley was born June 22, 1941 in a rough section of
Philadelphia, where he once recalled that his parents sometimes
worked 20-hour days at two jobs apiece.
"I was told, 'You can be anything you want, kid,'" he once told an
interviewer. "When you hear that often enough, you believe it."
After graduating from Cheney State College with a degree in
education, he launched his career as a DJ and news reporter for a
Philadelphia radio station in 1963, moving to New York's WCBS radio
four years later.
Bradley's first job out of college was as a sixth-grade teacher.
He joined CBS News as a stringer in the Paris bureau in 1971,
transferring a year later to the Saigon bureau during the Vietnam
War. It was the story that put him on the map and almost killed him,
As Bradley explained in one interview: "People were moved from Viet
Cong areas into towns controlled by the government. And all of a
sudden I heard this terrific noise ... if I had not moved to sit on
the side, I would have been dead."
After reporting in Cambodia, Bradley moved to the Washington bureau
in June 1974, 14 months after he was named a correspondent.
Other hour-long reports by Bradley prompted praise and
action: "Death by Denial" 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" spurred federal
investigations into the nation's largest chain of psychiatric
hospitals; and "Town Under Siege," about a small town battling toxic
waste, was named one of the Ten Best Television Programs of 1997 by
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, joining
distinguished journalists such as Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite
and Peter Jennings as a Paul White recipient.
More recently, the Denver Press Club awarded him its 2003 Damon
Runyon Award for career journalistic excellence. Bradley also
received the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards grand
prize and television first prize for "CBS Reports: In the Killing
Fields of America," a documentary about violence in America, for
which he was co-anchor and reporter.
Bradley's work on 60 Minutes gained him much recognition, including
a George Foster Peabody Award for "Big Man, Big Voice," the
uplifting story of a German singer who became successful despite
birth defects. In 1995, he won his 11th Emmy for a 60 Minutes
segment on the cruel effects of nuclear testing in the town of
Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan a report that also won him an Alfred I.
duPont-Columbia University Award in 1994.
In 1983, two of Bradley's reports for 60 Minutes won Emmy
Awards: "In the Belly of the Beast," an interview with Jack Henry
Abbott, a convicted murderer and author, and "Lena," a profile of
singer Lena Horne. He received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia
University Silver Baton and a 1991 Emmy Award for his report "Made
in China," a look at Chinese forced-labor camps, and another Emmy in
1992 for "Caitlin's Story," an examination of the controversy
between the parents of a deaf child and a deaf association.
In addition to "In the Killing Fields," his work for "CBS Reports"
included: "Enter the Jury Room," an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia
University Award winner that revealed the jury deliberation process
for the first time in front of network cameras. A series of stories
from 1979 were award winners, including: "The Boat People," which
won duPont, Emmy and Overseas Press Club Awards; "The Boston Goes to
China," a report on the historic visit to China by the Boston
Symphony Orchestra, which won Emmy, Peabody and Ohio State Awards,
and "Blacks in America: With All Deliberate Speed?," which won Emmy
and duPont Awards.
Bradley's coverage of the plight of Cambodian refugees, broadcast on
the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and CBS News Sunday
Morning, won a George Polk Award in journalism.
He also received a duPont citation for a segment on the Cambodian
situation broadcast on CBS News' "Magazine" series. He covered the
presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter during 1976, served as a floor
correspondent for CBS News' coverage of the Democratic and
Republican National Conventions from 1976 through 1996, and has
participated in CBS News' election-night coverage.
Prior to joining 60 Minutes, Bradley was a principal correspondent
for "CBS Reports" from 1978 to 1981, after serving as CBS News'
White House correspondent from 1976 to 1978. He was also anchor of
the "CBS Sunday Night News" from 1976 to 1981 and of the CBS News
magazine "Street Stories" from January 1992 to August 1993.
A lifelong fan of jazz, Bradley took on a side gig in recent years
as radio host for "Jazz at Lincoln Center," for which he won one of
his four Peabody awards.
Bradley joined CBS News as a stringer in its Paris bureau in
September 1971. A year later, he was transferred to the Saigon
bureau, where he remained until he was assigned to CBS News'
Washington bureau in June 1974. He was named a CBS News
correspondent in April 1973 and, shortly thereafter, was wounded
while on assignment in Cambodia. In March 1975, he volunteered to
return to Indochina and covered the fall of Cambodia and Vietnam.
What was Bradley's secret to getting such renowned stories?
Schieffer said it was all in his style.
"Ed knew everyone from Jimmy Carter to Jimmy Buffett. He made people
comfortable. He wasn't the bulldog type reporter like Mike Wallace,"
Schieffer said. "He set people at ease and got them to talk.
Sometimes that was in their interest and sometimes it wasn't. But he
was like Columbo, who had that disarming style and the knack of
getting that last answer out of someone."
60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft said: "I think the thing that
made him terrific was his presence. There was a dignity about him...
a perfect mix of style and substance."
Bradley is survived by his wife, Patricia Blanchet.