Less than one week after officially exiting CBS’ “60 Minutes,” veteran newscaster Morley Safer has passed away at the age of 84.
Safer, who replaced Harry Reasoner on “60 Minutes” in 1970, had the longest continuous run of anyone historically on primetime network television. Born on Nov. 8, 1931 in Toronto, Safer was influenced by the writing of Ernest Hemingway and decided he would be a foreign correspondent. He attended the University of Western Ontario for only a few weeks when he dropped out to begin writing for newspapers. He then went on to England with the help of the Commonwealth Press Union, which hired Safer in London in 1955. When he returned late that year, he found work as an editor and reporter in the Toronto headquarters of the CBC. He was chosen to produce “CBC News” Magazine in 1956, on which he also occasionally appeared.
The CBC sent him back to London in 1961, from which he covered major stories in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, including the war for Algerian Independence, until he joined CBS.
“Morley was one of the most important journalists in any medium, ever,” said CBS Chairman and CEO, Leslie Moonves. “He broke ground in war reporting and made a name that will forever be synonymous with “60 Minutes.” He was also a gentleman, a scholar, a great raconteur – all of those things and much more to generations of colleagues, his legion of friends, and his family, to whom all of us at CBS offer our sincerest condolences over the loss of one of CBS’ and journalism’s greatest treasures.”
Safer is survived by his wife of 48 years, Jane, one daughter, Sarah Bakal, her husband, Alexander Bakal, three grandchildren, a sister and brother, both of Toronto.