Fresh Air Remembers Mike Wallace Of ’60 Minutes’
Mike Wallace, the CBS News correspondent who became famous for his two-fisted interview style and his hard-hitting conversations with politicians, celebrities and newsmakers, died Saturday. He was 93.
Wallace had been with the weekly CBS News magazine 60 Minutes since its inception in 1968. Working with producer Don Hewitt, Wallace became known for interviews in which he refused to be led away from topics his interview subjects found uncomfortable.
Over the years, those subjects included John F. Kennedy, Deng Xiaoping, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Richard Nixon, Malcolm X, Ayatollah Khomeini and Moammar Gadhafi — in addition to celebrities ranging from Johnny Carson to Rod Sterling to Mikhail Baryshnikov.
In 2005, Wallace joined Terry Gross for a conversation about his memoir Between You and Me, in which he wrote about some of his most dramatic interviews and relayed stories from throughout his career.
Wallace’s first job was working in Grand Rapids, Mich., as a radio announcer.
“I read rip-and-read news, but I wasn’t a reporter,” he said. “I was reading the wire, and the other thing was, I was reading commercials — and I could do a hell of a commercial.”
He also moonlit for national radio shows, including The Lone Ranger, and spent time with a variety of shows, including a quiz show, a nighttime drama and interview shows for several broadcast networks, including CBS.
During the Vietnam War, he reported for Westingtonhouse radio from the front lines and then joined CBS, where he covered and then was kicked out of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The same year, he began working on 60 Minutes, where he became famous for chasing after interview subjects and ambushing them with a camera. LISTEN TO THE STORY… IT’S GOOD….