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Morley Safer, Longtime '60 Minutes' Correspondent, Dies

Morley Safer during <em>60 Minutes'</em> 40th anniversary celebration in New York.
John Paul Filo
Morley Safer during 60 Minutes' 40th anniversary celebration in New York.

Morley Safer, who reported from around the world for nearly five decades on the newsmagazine 60 Minutes, has died. He was 84.

Safer was the longest-serving correspondent on the show, and had just announced his retirement last week during a special that recapped his career.

Here's how CBS News describes his work:

"That work included a groundbreaking 1965 CBS News report from Cam Ne, Vietnam, where Safer showed U.S. Marines torching villagers' huts, and a 60 Minutes story on Lenell Geter, a black man in Texas wrongly accused of armed robbery and later exonerated as a result of Safer's report.

"There were countless stories, on every imaginable topic, each tale uniquely his own. 'They were works of art almost,' ['60 Minutes' Executive Producer Jeff Fager] explains. 'What makes a story a Morley story is his original voice. And by that I mean not just the timbre, but [also] the quality of the storytelling, his writing.'

"Fager recalls working as Safer's producer and bringing him the first draft of a script. Safer would look at it, stare out the window for a few seconds, and then quickly scroll a piece of paper into his trusty typewriter and rework it to his own satisfaction."

During his career, Safer produced more than 900 stories.

CBS New York has a bit more on Safer's biography:

"Safer, 84, was born in Toronto, Canada, and covered major stories around the world for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before he joined CBS News in April 1964. He began his CBS News career as a correspondent in the London bureau, and opened the CBS News Saigon Bureau in 1965.

"Safer became CBS News' London bureau chief in 1967, covering Europe, Africa and the Middle East and returning to Vietnam to cover the war.

"Safer joined as a regular correspondent for '60 Minutes' in 1970, with a story about the training of U.S. Sky Marshals. His last 919th and last '60 Minutes' report — a profile of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels — aired in March."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.