- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) — Ed Bradley, the award-winning television journalist who broke racial barriers at CBS News and created a distinctive, powerful body of work during his 26 years on “60 Minutes,” died yesterday. He was 65.

Mr. Bradley died of leukemia at the Mount Sinai Hospital, CBS News announced.

“He was a great journalist who did the most serious work without ever seeming to take himself seriously,” TV personality Barbara Walters said.

Mr. Bradley’s consummate skills were recognized with numerous awards, including 19 Emmys, the latest for a segment on the reopening of the 50-year-old racial murder case of Emmett Till.

Three of his Emmys came at the 2003 awards: for lifetime achievement; a 2002 “60 Minutes” report on brain cancer patients; and a “60 Minutes II” report about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. He also won a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Mr. Bradley was “considered intelligent, smooth, cool, a great reporter, beloved and respected by all his colleagues here at CBS News,” Katie Couric of CBS said in a special report.

Mr. Bradley grew up in a tough section of Philadelphia, where he once recalled that his parents each worked 20-hour days at two jobs.

“I was told, ‘You can be anything you want, kid,’ ” he once told an interviewer. “When you hear that often enough, you believe it.”

After graduating from Cheney State College, he launched his career as a disc jockey and news reporter for a Philadelphia radio station in 1963, moving to New York’s WCBS radio four years later.

He joined CBS News as a stringer in the Paris bureau in 1971, transferring a year later to the Saigon bureau during the Vietnam War. He was wounded while on assignment in Cambodia.

After Southeast Asia, Mr. Bradley returned to the United States and covered Jimmy Carter’s successful campaign for the White House. He followed President Carter to Washington, in 1976 becoming CBS’ first black White House correspondent — a prestigious position that Mr. Bradley didn’t enjoy.

He jumped from Washington to doing pieces for “CBS Reports,” traveling to Cambodia, China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. It was his Emmy-winning 1979 work on a story about Vietnamese boat people, refugees from the war-torn nation, that eventually landed his work on “60 Minutes.” He officially joined the show in 1981.

“60 Minutes” producer Don Hewitt, in his book “Minute by Minute,” was quick to appreciate Mr. Bradley’s work. “He’s so good and so savvy and so lights up the tube every time he’s on it that I wonder what took us so long,” Mr. Hewitt wrote.

Accepting his lifetime achievement award from the black journalists’ association, Mr. Bradley remembered being present at some of the organization’s first meetings in New York.

“I look around this room tonight and I can see how much our profession has changed and our numbers have grown,” he said.


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