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'60 Minutes' Co-Editor Ed Bradley


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'60 Minutes' Co-Editor Ed Bradley

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Ed Bradley

NEW YORK CITY, New York -- Ed Bradley, the award-winning "60 Minutes" correspondent who grew up in the tough streets of Philadelphia, was wounded while covering the Vietnam War and later became CBS's first black White House correspondent, died Thursday, November 9 from leukemia at Mount Sinai Hospital, CBS News announced. He was 65.

Bradley had been ill for some time but remained active on "60 Minutes." He interviewed the three defendants at the center of the Duke rape scandal in his final story for the network in October.

"He was a remarkable TV personality and a fantastic reporter," said former "60 Minutes" executive editor Josh Howard. "He got into any story he tackled and knew exactly how to use television."

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Ed Bradley

After the semi-retirement of Mike Wallace in 2005, Bradley became the longest-serving full-time correspondent on the show and was the first to introduce himself after the ticking stopwatch, an honor known as the first "I'm."

Bradley joined "60 Minutes" in 1981, after a stint on another magazine show he anchored, "Street Stories" and ten years after he started with the network as a stringer in Paris.

Producer Don Hewitt, in his book "Minute by Minute," was quick to appreciate Bradley's work once he joined the "60 Minutes" crew. "He's so good and so savvy and so lights up the tube every time he's on it that I wonder what took us so long," Hewitt wrote.

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Ed Bradley and Geraldine Ferraro

Bradley's consummate skills as a broadcast journalist and his distinctive body of work were recognized with numerous awards, including 19 Emmys, the latest for a segment that reported the reopening of the 50-year-old racial murder case of Emmett Till.

He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists. Three of his Emmys came at the 2003 awards: a lifetime achievement Emmy; one for a 2002 "60 Minutes" report on brain cancer patients and for a "60 Minutes II" report about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Bradley grew up in a tough section of Philadelphia, where he once recalled that his parents worked 20-hour days at two jobs apiece. "I was told, 'You can be anything you want, kid,'" he once told an interviewer. "When you hear that often enough, you believe it."

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Ed Bradley

After graduating from Cheney State College, he launched his career as a DJ and news reporter for a Philadelphia radio station in 1963, moving to New York's WCBS radio four years later.

He joined CBS News as a stringer in the Paris bureau in 1971, transferring a year later to the Saigon bureau during the Vietnam War; he was wounded while on assignment in Cambodia. Bradley moved to the Washington bureau in June 1974, 14 months after he was named a CBS News correspondent.

He later returned to Vietnam, covering the fall of that country and Cambodia. After Southeast Asia, Bradley returned to the United States and covered Jimmy Carter's successful campaign for the White House. He followed Carter to Washington, becoming CBS' first black White House correspondent -- a prestigious position that Bradley didn't enjoy.

He jumped from Washington to doing pieces for "CBS Reports," traveling to Cambodia, China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. It was his Emmy-winning 1979 work on a story about Vietnamese boat people, refugees from the war-torn nation, that eventually landed his work on "60 Minutes."

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Patricia Blanchet and Ed Bradley

"What made him great is he was interested in everything from jazz to politics to social issues," said former CBS producer and author of Dan Rather biography, "Lone Star," Alan Weisman.

Starting in the late '80s, CBS repeatedly tried to convince him to become anchor of "CBS Evening News." Weisman said, "He couldn't turn it down fast enough. That is unusual in our business." Bradley, known for his profiles of Lena Horne and Muhammad Ali, loved having the opportunity to explore stories and didn't want to give it up to become an evening news anchor.

Bradley underwent heart surgery several years ago, and more recently struggled against cancer. But he continued his prolific output even as his health deteriorated over the last year, filing more than 20 stories for "60 Minutes."

Bradley is survived by his wife, Patricia Blanchet.

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