Just months after 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney passed away at 92, the CBS show’s iconic newsman, Mike Wallace, has died at the age of 93.
The hard-hitting reporter, known for his tough-interviewing style, passed away peacefully Saturday night, surrounded by family members at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, Conn., according to CBS.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we mark the passing of Mike Wallace,” Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corporation said. “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.”
“All of us at CBS News and particularly at 60 Minutes owe so much to Mike,” Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and executive producer of 60 Minutes also said in a statement. “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.”
Before stepping down as a “correspondent emeritus” for the news show in 2006, Wallace helped 60 Minutes become a top news program, with 23 of the show’s seasons landing on the Nielsen Ratings annual top 10 list.
And that track record came with many awards.
Wallace racked up more than 20 Emmys during his lengthy career as a reporter (including a Lifetime Achievement Emmy), nabbing his last at the age of 89, for his 2006 interview of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
While Wallace became widely known for his ambush interview style during his time at 60 Minutes, exposing fraudulent companies like a fake cancer clinic and a lab that offered Medicaid kickbacks to doctors, among other scandals, he was also famous for his ability to ask tough questions and get direct answers from notoriously uncommunicative world leaders and headline makers.
But, even before his tenure at 60 Minutes, Wallace was a fixture on various radio and television programs, including ABC’s The Mike Wallace Interview, Biography and Night Beat.
To honor Wallace’s memory, CBS will air a special program dedicated to him on April 15 on 60 Minutes.