CBS' Mike Wallace Dead at 93
'60 Minutes' veteran interviewed scads of luminaries over 65-year career
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2012 9:43 AM CDT
CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace attends the screening of 'Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room' on April 13, 2005 in New York City.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Veteran CBS news correspondent and 60 Minutes stalwart Mike Wallace died last night at the age of 93, reports CBS News. The self-described "nosy and insistent" reporter, who once asked Ayatollah Khamenei if he was crazy and called Martin Luther King Jr. his hero, had a broadcast career that spanned 65 years—not too bad for a guy born before the advent of radio, much less television. Highlights from a long and storied career:

  • On finding his feet on Nightbeat in 1956: "We decided to ask the irreverent question, the abrasive question, the who-gives-a-damn question."
  • Notable interviews: Malcolm X, Vladimir Putin, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Barbra Streisand, Janis Joplin, Roger Clemens, among scores of others.

  • The late Harry Reasoner on Wallace: "There is one thing that Mike can do better than anybody else: With an angelic smile, he can ask a question that would get anyone else smashed in the face."
  • Wallace on his only advantage over his interviewees: "The person I'm interviewing has not been subpoenaed. He's in charge of himself, and he lives with his subject matter every day. All I'm armed with is research."
  • On when he would retire (which he did in 2006): "When my toes turn up" ... and "they're just beginning to curl a trifle. It's become apparent to me that my eyes and ears, among other appurtenances, aren't quite what they used to be."
  • Wallace's favorite interview, pianist Vladimir Horowitz: Horowitz played "The Stars and Stripes Forever" for the patriotic Wallace, nearly bringing him to tears. "It's astonishing what you learn and feel and see along the way," Wallace later said. "That's why a reporter's job is such a joy."
  • On what Wallace wanted for an epigraph: "Tough, but fair."