Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ed Bradley 1941-2006


This makes me inexorably sad. Good night and god bless, Mr. Bradley. From today's New York Times:

Ed Bradley, Veteran CBS Newsman, Dies

Published: November 9, 2006

Ed Bradley, a pioneering black journalist who was a fixture in American living rooms on Sunday nights for more than a quarter century on “60 Minutes,” died today. He was 65.

Mr. Bradley died at Mt. Sinai Medical Center of complications from chronic lymphocytic leukemia, said Dr. Valentin Fuster, his cardiologist and the director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Mt. Sinai. Mr. Bradley, who underwent a quintuple bypass operation on his heart in 2003, was diagnosed with leukemia "many years ago,” Dr. Fuster said, but it had not posed a threat to his life until recently, when he contracted an infection.

His most recent segments on “60 Minutes” had been on Oct. 15 (on the rape case involving Duke University lacrosse players) and on Oct. 29 (an investigation of an oil refinery explosion in Texas). Even many close colleagues had not known that his health had been deteriorating precipitously for several weeks. On the day that last segment was broadcast, he was admitted to Mt. Sinai. He remained there until his death. “This has been a long battle which he fought silently and courageously,” said Charlayne Hunter-Gault of the “News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” who was one of several close friends at Mr. Bradley’s side when he died this morning. “He didn’t want people to know that this was a part of his struggle. He didn’t want people feeling sorry for him. And for a good part of his life, he managed it.”

To generations of television viewers, Mr. Bradley was a sober presence — albeit one who occasionally wore a stud in one ear — whose reporting across four decades ranged from the Vietnam War and Cambodian refugee crisis to the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and the Oklahoma City bombing (his was the only television interview with Timothy McVeigh). He won 19 Emmy awards, including one for “lifetime achievement” in 2003.

But Mr. Bradley’s life off camera was often as rich and compelling as the one in the studio. Having begun his broadcast career as a disc jockey in Philadelphia, Mr. Bradley was an enormous fan of many forms of music — particularly jazz and gospel — who counted the musicians Wynton Marsalis, George Wien and Aaron Neville among his many friends and made a regular pilgrimage to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

“I made the mistake once of letting him get onstage with my band, and he never stopped doing it,” the singer Jimmy Buffett, a friend of Mr. Bradley’s for 30 years who was also with him when he died, said in a telephone interview today. Mr. Bradley had many nicknames throughout his life — including “Big Daddy,” when he played football in the 1960’s at Cheyney State College in Pennsylvania — but his favorite, according to Ms. Hunter-Gault and Mr. Buffett, was “Teddy Badly,” which Mr. Buffett bestowed on him on stage the first time Mr. Bradley played tambourine at his side.

“Everybody in my opinion needs a little Mardi Gras in their life,” Mr. Buffett said, “and he liked to have a little more than the average person on occasion.”

“He was such a great journalist,” Mr. Buffett added, “but he still knew how to have a good time.”

Mr. Bradley, who grew up in Philadelphia, broke into broadcasting as a news reporter for WDAS-FM radio in his hometown. Following that job, he was hired in 1967 as a reporter for WCBS radio in New York.

In 1971, he joined CBS News as a stringer in its Paris bureau and then a year later was transferred to the Saigon bureau. He became a CBS News correspondent in April 1973 and, shortly thereafter, was wounded while on assignment in Cambodia. Mr. Bradley joined 60 Minutes during the 1981-82 season. Among the Emmys he won throughout his career was one for a report on the reopening of the 50-year-old racial murder case of Emmett Till.

Last fall, the National Association of Black Journalists honored Mr. Bradley, who was among the first wave of African Americans to break into network television news, with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I grew up in Philadelphia rather protected from life in the South,” Mr. Bradley said at the association’s awards ceremony in Washington. “Emmitt Till and I were the same age when he was killed, and that was my introduction to the reality of life in this country for a black person in the mid 50’s. When we were awarded an Emmy earlier this year for this story, I said it was the most important Emmy I had ever received. I would say the same thing about your recognition tonight.”

Mr. Bradley is survived by his wife, Patricia Blanchet.

Maria Newman contributed reporting.

Link:

http://tinyurl.com/ycujtl

1 comment:

michelle said...

thanks for posting this. i miss him already. such a shame to lose him so young.