Mike Wallace – 60 Minutes Icon

The old gang at 60 minutes is rapidly passing away. 60 Minutes was a “must see” in my household for may years, with Ed Bradley, Mike Wallace, and Harry Reasoner, and yeah – even Art Buchwald…

60 Minutes icon Mike Wallace dies at 93

CBS News legend Mike Wallace, the 60 Minutes’ pit-bull reporter whose probing, brazen style made his name synonymous with the tough interview — a style he practically invented for television more than half a century ago — died last night. He was 93 and passed peacefully surrounded by family members at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, Conn., where he spent the past few years. He also had a home in Manhattan.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we mark the passing of Mike Wallace. His extraordinary contribution as a broadcaster is immeasurable and he has been a force within the television industry throughout its existence. His loss will be felt by all of us at CBS,” said Leslie Moonves, president and CEO, CBS Corporation.

“All of us at CBS News and particularly at 60 Minutes owe so much to Mike. Without him and his iconic style, there probably wouldn’t be a 60 Minutes. There simply hasn’t been another broadcast journalist with that much talent. It almost didn’t matter what stories he was covering, you just wanted to hear what he would ask next. Around CBS he was the same infectious, funny and ferocious person as he was on TV. We loved him and we will miss him very much,” said Jeff Fager, chairman CBSNews and executive producer of 60 Minutes.

A special program dedicated to Wallace will be broadcast on 60 Minutes next Sunday, April 15.

Wallace was as famous as the leaders, newsmakers and celebrities who suffered his blistering interrogations, winning awards and a reputation for digging out the hidden truth on Sunday nights in front of an audience that approached 40 million at broadcast television’s peak.

Wallace played a huge role in 60 Minutes’ rise to the top of the ratings to become the number-one program of all time, with an unprecedented 23 seasons on the Nielsen annual top 10 list — five as the number-one program.

He announced he would step down to become a “correspondent emeritus” in the spring of 2006, but Wallace continued to land big interviews for 60 Minutes. His last appearance on television, on January 6, 2008, was a sit-down on 60 Minutes with accused steroid user Roger Clemens that made front-page news. His August 2006 interview of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won him his 21st Emmy at the age of 89. He was also granted the first post-prison interview with assisted suicide advocate-and convicted killer Dr. Jack Kevorkian for a June 2007 60 Minutes broadcast. After a successful triple bypass operation in late January 2008, he retired from public life.

Lena Horne, Legendary Actress, Singer – dies at 92.

Lena Horne was the only black Actress during the 40’s and 50’s to have a studio contract. Stunningly beautiful, hugely talented – she became an icon of an era. In another less racial time in America, she would have been a leading lady, instead of being confined to “race roles”. Goodbye Lena – and Thank You for that “Stormy Weather”.

more about “Singer, Actress Lena Horne“, posted with vodpod

Benjamin Hooks Has Passed

Civil rights leader Benjamin Hooks dies

Benjamin L. Hooks, a civil rights leader who led the NAACP from 1977 to 1992, has died, said the vice president for communication at the NAACP.

The cause of death was not immediately known, the NAACP’s Leila McDowell said Thursday.

Hooks was “a vocal campaigner for civil rights in the United States,” said the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1925, Hooks grew up in the segregated South.

Hooks served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he “found himself in the humiliating position of guarding Italian prisoners of war who were allowed to eat in restaurants that were off limits to him. The experience helped to deepen his resolve to do something about bigotry in the South,” according to a biography published by the University of Memphis, where he was a professor in the political science department.

He also was a lawyer and an ordained Baptist minister who joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and led the NAACP for 15 years.

The organization “was suffering from declining membership and prestige when Hooks assumed his role as executive director,” the University of Memphis biography said. The NAACP added several hundred thousand new members under his leadership, it said.

During his tenure, the civil rights organization worked with Major League Baseball on a program that expanded employment opportunities for African-Americans in baseball, including in positions as managers, coaches and in franchise executive offices, the NAACP said.

He also worked with colleagues to set up a program in which more than 200 corporations agreed to participate in economic development projects in black communities, the NAACP said.

President George W. Bush awarded Hooks the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in November 2007.

“As a civil rights activist, public servant and minister of the gospel, Dr. Hooks has extended the hand of fellowship throughout his years,” Bush said. “It was not an always thing — easy thing to do. But it was always the right thing to do.

“For 15 years, Dr. Hooks was a calm yet forceful voice for fairness, opportunity and personal responsibility. He never tired or faltered in demanding that our nation live up to its founding ideals of liberty and equality.”

Julian Bond, the chairman emeritus of the NAACP, praised Hooks at the time.

“Benjamin Hooks has had a stellar career — civil rights advocate and leader, minister, businessman, public servant — there are few who are his equal,” Bond said, according to the NAACP.

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