A week after he officially retired from CBS News and 60 Minutes, Morley Safer passed away in his Manhattan home. 60 Minutes paid tribute to Safer this previous Sunday, a tribute Safer was able to watch from his home in Connecticut. Safer has been in declining health, a factor that led to him officially stepping away from 60 Minutes. He had cut back on his workload a decade ago, but continued to contribute stories to 6o Minutes and have an office. Safer’s final 60 Minutes piece, a profile of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, aired in March. It was Safer’s 919th 60 Minutes report.
Safer joined CBS News in 1964 and then 60 Minutes in 1970. Before joining 60 Minutes, Safer had served as Saigon bureau chief for CBS News. While working in Saigon, Safer broadcast video of Marines setting Vietnamese homes on fire, a video that shocked Americans at home. President Lyndon B. Johnson then accused Safer of having “shat on the American flag.”
“Morley was one of the most important journalists in any medium, ever,” said CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves. “He broke ground in war reporting and made a name that will forever be synonymous with 60 Minutes. He was also a gentleman, a scholar, a great raconteur – all of those things and much more to generations of colleagues, his legion of friends, and his family, to whom all of us at CBS offer our sincerest condolences over the loss of one of CBS’ and journalism’s greatest treasures.”
“This is a very sad day for all of us at 60 Minutes and CBS News. Morley was a fixture, one of our pillars, and an inspiration in many ways,” said Jeff Fager, executive producer of 60 Minutes. “He was a master storyteller, a gentleman and a wonderful friend. We will miss him very much.”
“Morley Safer helped create the CBS News we know today. No correspondent had more extraordinary range, from war reporting to coverage of every aspect of modern culture. His writing alone defined original reporting. Everyone at CBS News will sorely miss Morley,” said CBS News President David Rhodes.
Safer was 84.