NEW YORK—During a visit last Friday with a frail Morley Safer, Tom Brokaw exchanged memories with him about fellow journalists Ben Bradlee, Don Hewitt, and others who had died.
“All the great ones are gone,” Safer said quietly to Brokaw, the veteran NBC newsman recalled.
“I said, ‘No, Morley, you’re still with us.’”
Yesterday, Safer’s death at age 84 swelled the loss.
The “60 Minutes” mainstay represented a bridge between the glory ink-stained-wretch days of foreign correspondents—Ernest Hemingway was an early inspiration—and the blooming electronic age of TV news.
Safer, who was born in Toronto, spun artful stories about the good life but was equally adroit reporting on social injustices or exposing a military atrocity in Vietnam that played an early role in changing Americans’ view of the war.
In declining health, he died at his home in Manhattan.
He announced his retirement last week and “60 Minutes” aired a tribute hour on Sunday, which he watched from his home, CBS News spokesman Kevin Tedesco said.
During his 46 years on “60 Minutes,” Safer did 919 stories—from his first in 1970 about U.S. Sky Marshals to his last this March, a profile of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.
Safer’s rich tobacco-and-whiskey-cured voice delivered stories that ranged from art, music, and popular culture to “gotcha” investigations.