Walter Cronkite (1916-2009)

Famed newscaster Walter Cronkite, who spent 19 years anchoring The CBS Evening News, has died at the age of 92. His lengthy career in television began in the early 1950s; for many years he worked in radio. It was Cronkite who broke the news of President Kennedy’s death to countless viewers glued to their sets on November 22nd, 1963: “From Dallas, Texas, a flash, apparently official: President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time, 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.”

In 1969 he would spend close to 28 hours on the air during the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing. It is perhaps fitting that Cronkite passed away so close to the 40th anniversary of that mission. CBS News has a lengthy obituary at its website as well as a special section with videos and photos. Other obituaries: CNN, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter. You can read Cronkite’s entry in the Encyclopedia of TV at The Museum of Broadcast Communications website.


  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    In the excerpt above, from the 1963 CBS fall preview “The Stars’ Address”, Walter Cronkite, ever-present pipe in hand, demonstrates WHY he was the “face of CBS News” for over 20 years. He was also narrator and host of “THE TWENTIETH CENTURY”, one of the finest weekly half-hour documentary series ever produced- “tucked away” on Sundays at 6pm(et), just before “MISTER ED”.

    Besides his own program, the other 40 minutes of daily “hard news” programming, as “Uncle Walter” described, were:

    [12:25-12:30pm(et), following “LOVE OF LIFE”] and
    “THE CBS AFTERNOON NEWS WITH DOUGLAS EDWARDS” [featuring Cronkite’s evening predecessor from 1948 through ’62, 3:25-3:30pm(et), right after “TO TELL THE TRUTH”]

    Cronkite’s “EVENING NEWS” [6:30-7pm(et)] was the first regular half-hour network evening newscast, although it wasn’t telecast in color until August 1965.

    Robert Trout anchored “THE CBS SATURDAY NEWS” at 12:30pm(et), following repeats of “SKY KING”.
    Harry Reasoner anchored the 15 minute “CBS SUNDAY NIGHT NEWS” right after “WHAT’S MY LINE?” at 11pm(et).

  • Cronkite is away on assignment…permanent assignment. To absent friends… :-(

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    MURROW: “Television news hasn’t gotten any better since I’ve been here, has it, Walt?”
    CRONKITE: “It’s worse, Ed- and I worry about the future of all those people down there.”
    MURROW: “Well, if something happens, at least we’re above it.”
    CRONKITE: “For how long?”
    MURROW: “As long as it takes for us to finish these drinks, and see Bill Paley again.”
    CRONKITE: “Is he still bitter about what Larry Tisch did to him at CBS?”
    MURROW: “He doesn’t show it, Walter, but he still cries himself to sleep once in a while, and Babe can’t do a damn thing about it.”
    CRONKITE: “I thought this was supposed to be Heaven.”
    MURROW: “Some of us manage to build a fire around ourselves now and then…and forget to extinguish it.”
    CRONKITE: “You still sound like you’re delivering one of your ‘op-ed’ pieces on radio.”
    MURROW: “I’m like an old fire horse, Walt- I have an opinion for eveything, no matter where I am.”
    CRONKITE: “So do I. A toast…to a man’s conscience, and the ability to distinguish right from wrong.”
    MURROW: “Amen to that.”

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Incidentally, Les Midgley, mentioned by Cronkite at :52, became his executive producer on the “EVENING NEWS” by the late ’60s.

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