NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — For 40-years, Mike Wallace’s tough style was a hallmark of 60-minutes, his interviews were legendary. Today he is being remembered as a fierce newsman and a pioneer in broadcast journalism.
Wallace died on Saturday night at a care facility in Connecticut.
Before Wallace became a 60 Minutes legend he was known for doing commercials and variety shows during the 1940’s and 50’s.
Audiences got their first view of Wallace’s hard-hitting side in “Night Beat”. Then, in 1968 CBS producer Don Hewitt recruited him to co-host 60 Minutes.
“I felt, my god, you have enough time, you have enough money to do what you want, you’re working with first-rate producers. It was heaven-sent,” said Wallace.
Wallace turned 60 Minutes into a must-see program with his hard-hitting interview style.
He interrogated politicians, criminals, dictators, movie stars, and athletes. At times Wallace was criticized for his use of hidden cameras and surprise confrontations, some referred to it as ambush journalism. Some of Wallace’s targets filed lawsuits.
Wallace did his final interview in 2008 when he spoke with pitcher Roger Clemens. He retired from public life after a triple-bypass surgery.
Wallace’s 60 Minutes colleague Morley Safer told CBS 2 that in spite of Wallace’s comedic background, he was one of the best broadcast journalists that he had ever seen.
“He was always self-conscious about the fact that he had been in commercials done Broadway done funny stuff on television and then when he decided to become a reporter he became a reporter and probably among the best in broadcast journalism.”
Viewers appreciated Wallaces approach to journalism.
“I think he asked the tough questions that needed to be asked,” Nancy Persinger told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
Wallace was 93-years old.
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