Morley Safer has died, mere days after retiring from his 46-year career on the iconic news program, ’60 Minutes.’ As his fellow broadcasters and fans mourn this heartbreaking loss, here are 5 things to know about the legendary reporter.
The news world is in shock over the sudden passing of Morley Safer. The 84-year-old journalist just retired after spending close to half-a-century on 60 Minutes. As friends and family deal with this sad loss, learn more about the life and career behind this incredible broadcaster.
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1. Morley Safer’s big break came in Vietnam.
Morley got his start in journalism by working for Woodstock, Ontario’s Sentinel-Review newspaper in 1951, according to Biography.com. Yet, it would be Morley’s coverage of the Vietnam War in 1964 that made him a reporting legend. In 1965, he filed a report featuring footage of a U.S. Marine setting Vietnamese huts on fire with a cigarette lighter. It was among the first reports to show the Vietnam War as a bleak situation, earning Morley the fury from then President Lyndon B. Johnson.
2. He made the first U.S. network broadcast from China.
In 1967, Morley made history with his special report, “Morley Safer’s Red China Diary,” according to CBS News. This would be the first time that a U.S. network news team broadcasted from inside the secretive country. Though he was once accused of being a Communist by LBJ over his reporting of Vietnam, Morley wasn’t happy with his time in the Communist nation. “China is a nation squeezed dry of all personality,” he said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
3. Morley was a New York Times best seller.
Morley’s recounted his time covering the Vietnam War in his book, Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam, which also described his 1989 trip to the country. While visiting, he spoke with many veterans of the war, including General Vo Nguyen Glap and cabinet member Duong Quynh Hoa. The book was called “vivid” and “profound” by Entertainment Weekly.
4. One of his greatest accomplishments saved a man’s life
Morley joined 60 Minutes in Dec. 1970. When deciding his favorite moment during his nearly 46 years on the program, Morley picked the report he made in 1983 about Lenell Geter. The story was about Lenell, a Texas engineer sentenced to life in prison for a robbery he didn’t commit. Morely’s report helped overturn Lenell’s conviction and set the innocent man free, per CBS News.
5. He was a proud Canadian.
Morley maintained dual Canadian and American citizenship up until the day he died, according to C-Span. Though he lived and worked most of his life in the United States, Morley never forgot his humble background, growing up the son of an upholsterer in Toronto. Morley leaves behind a wife, Jane Fearer, and a daughter, Sarah Alice Anne Safer.
Our thoughts are with Morley’s family and friends during their time of loss.