I just read the news, Mike Wallace dead at 93. He was a real character, and I’ve been watching him on TV and the news for a majority of my life.
I remember watching “60 Minutes” with my parents when I lived at home. I’d was a Senior in high school when the first “60 Minutes” aired in 1968. I enjoyed Wallace’s probing interviews. He got right at the truth. At the time I was only 18. My parents and I would watch “60” minutes together every week. It was family time for us.
I feel like I did when Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley died. When there were disastrous or life changing events, these were the guys who first gave me the news. They were more than fleeting images on a TV screen. I feel like I lost an old family friend.
It was a different world back when I watched the news as a kid. We only had 1/2 hour of national TV news a night, and we waited for it. It’s not like today when you can put on the TV and get your news over and over. It’s not like the internet which is where I first found out about his death. Yes, things have drastically changed.
Over the years I watched him intimidate people when he interviewed them, and got them to say things they didn’t really want to say. You had to admire his style. He was one tough guy. He took on Khomeini, and Russian President, Putin. He didn’t seem to be afraid of anyone.
But when he got involved in a lawsuit when General Westmoreland was suing” 60 Minutes”about a story about Vietnam, he underwent a bout of depression. It was hard to believe that such an outwardly tough guy was vulnerable to such a human disease. He publicly stated that he used antidepressants to keep it under control. I admired him for making it public.
He talked about how the death of his son, Peter, during a hiking accident in 1962 motivated him to take his journalism job more seriously because Peter also wanted to be a journalist. (Wallace had hosted game shows, and appeared on TV. He wasn’t just a journalism guy in the beginning of his career).
Wallace is the last of a generation that I got my news from. It makes me sad.
How do you feel when a public figure that you identified with passes away. Any feelings about Mike Wallace’s death?