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Newsman Richard Threlkeld dies in car accident
The 74-year-old Threlkeld died Friday morning in Amagansett, N.Y., when his car collided with a propane tanker. He was pronounced dead at Southampton Hospital, according to the East Hampton, N.Y., Police Department. He lived in nearby East Hampton.
The driver of the tanker, Earl Fryberger Jr., of Coatesville, Penn., was not injured, said police, who are investigating the accident.
Threlkeld spent more than 25 years at CBS News before retiring in 1998. He was a reporter, anchor and bureau chief who covered the Persian Gulf War and the Vietnam War, the Patty Hearst kidnapping and trial, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and the execution of Gary Gilmore.
He was one of the last journalists evacuated from Phnom Penh and Saigon when those cities fell to the Communists in 1975.
CBS News correspondent Bob Simon was with him when Saigon fell.
“Richard was old school in the best sense,” Simon said. “He really didn’t give a damn about being on camera. He didn’t do many stand-ups. He always figured there was more interesting footage than himself.”
Threlkeld covered the presidential campaigns of candidates ranging from Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s to Bill Clinton in the 1990s. He worked alongside Lesley Stahl as co-anchor of “The CBS Morning News” from 1977-79, and reported for “CBS Sunday Morning” from its inception in 1979, as well as for “The CBS Evening News With Dan Rather.”
“I don’t like to horse trade. I’m not a horse,” Threlkeld told The Associated Press at the time. “After I decided ABC was the best place for me to go, it would have been wrong to make a verbal agreement and take it back to CBS to see what they could do.”
“At this stage of my life,” said Threlkeld, then 43, “I’m in a Ferrari mood.”
At ABC News, he reported for “World News Tonight” in a role he tailored for himself as a sort of roving news analyst.
Threlkeld returned to CBS News in 1989. His final assignment at CBS was as Moscow correspondent. From that experience, he wrote a book, “Dispatches from the Former Evil Empire,” which was published in 2001.
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