April 9, 2012
Mike Wallace. (Courtesy CBS)

Mike Wallace. (Courtesy CBS)

Remembering Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace, renowned journalist and founding co-editor of the groundbreaking newsmagazine "60 Minutes," died April 7, 2012. He was 93.

Perhaps no other reporter was more feared for his reportorial and interviewing skills than Wallace. During his 38 years as a correspondent for "60 Minutes," he exposed hypocrisy in business, commerce and government. A classic Wallace question: "Tell me something — how much in the way of kickbacks and rebates do you get involved with, and why?"

Wallace scored the big interviews with reclusive celebrities and politicians. On camera, he brought singer Barbra Streisand to tears and was scolded by first lady Nancy Reagan when he quizzed her about the $2 million she and President Ronald Reagan received for a visit to Japan.

Coors Brewing Company once touted Wallace's investigative clout in an ad claiming: "The four most dreaded words in the English language are 'Mike Wallace Is Here.'

Wallace began his broadcasting career in radio. He hosted quiz and adventure shows before discovering in 1956, as host of a CBS program called "Night Beat," his rare interviewing talent. Asking the tough questions would become his signature style in 1968 when he, along with correspondent Harry Reasoner, became the original hosts of "60 Minutes."

In an interview with People magazine in 2006, Wallace said he didn't think the show would fly.

"I thought [late executive producer Don] Hewitt was crazy, and I said, 'It will never work.'"

More than 40 years after its launch, "60 Minutes" remains a top-rated program that has received numerous awards and prompted several imitators.

Wallace retired from the show in 2006 but maintained a correspondent emeritus role at CBS News.

Wallace was a frequent participant in Freedom Forum and Newseum events. In 1998, he and fellow "60 Minutes" correspondents appeared at the Newseum to commemorate the program's 30th anniversary. At that time, Hewitt presented the Newseum with scripts from the program's first broadcast. One of the scripts, along with an exhibit on Wallace's life and career, is displayed in the News Corporation News History Gallery.

In 1998, "60 Minutes" celebrated its 30th anniversary with a program at the Newseum that featured producer Don Hewitt; correspondents Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley, Andy Rooney, Morley Safer, Lesley Stahl and Steve Kroft; and the "60 Minutes" production team.

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