Mike Wallace, one of CBS’ best known news anchor for more than 50 years has passed away at 93-years-old. During his time at the network Wallace was known for taking on hard hitting issues from embezzling businessman to bumbling politicians and violent work leaders, going so far as to lecture Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding corruption while lecturing Yassir Arafat regarding his use of violence.
During his time he interviewed Malcolm X and even traveled with the civil rights leader.
Mike Wallace was also a constant in the lives of many US Presidents having interviewed his good friends the Reagans along with John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter.
As CBS News points out Wallace had some remarkable people to interview over the years including:
“Leonard Bernstein, Johnny Carson, Luciano Pavarotti, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Salvador Dali, Barbra Streisand. His take-no-prisoners style became so famous he even spoofed it with comedian Jack Benny.”
Wallace’s raise to fame is impressive when we consider that during his birth in 1918 most American homes didn’t even own a radio.
After attending the University of Michigan Mr. Wallace took a job as the announcer on popular TV series “The Green Hornet” before moving on to various other projects by the 1950s, projects that included variety shows, game shows, dramas and commercials. Wallace was regularly called the hardest-working announcer in television.
Wallace’s big break came in 1956 when he took part in an interview show called “Nightbeat.” Recalling his time on Nightbeat Mike Wallace said:
“We decided to ask the irreverent question, the abrasive question, the who-gives-a-damn question.”
In 1968 the network launched 60 Minutes which would become Wallace’s home for the next 40 years.
While news came easy to Mike Wallace his life was met with his own personal demons including an attempt to take his own life after being treated for severe depression throughout his life.
When Mike Wallace retired from 60 Minutes it had been 65 years since his first appearance on camera when he spoke on a World War II film for the Navy.