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RIP Mike Wallace

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by rocketsjudoka, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

    Jul 24, 2007
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    One of the toughest and most entertaining newsmen ever.


    Remembering Mike Wallace 1918-2012

    (CBS News) For half a century, he took on corrupt politicians, scam artists and bureaucratic bumblers. His visits were preceded by the four dreaded words: Mike Wallace is here.

    Wallace took to heart the old reporter's pledge to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. He characterized himself as "nosy and insistent."

    So insistent, there were very few 20th century icons who didn't submit to a Mike Wallace interview. He lectured Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, on corruption. He lectured Yassir Arafat on violence.

    He asked the Ayatollah Khoumeini if he were crazy.

    He traveled with Martin Luther King (whom Wallace called his hero). He grappled with Louis Farrakhan.

    And he interviewed Malcolm X shortly before his assassination.

    He was no stranger to the White House, interviewing his friends the Reagans . . . John F. Kennedy . . . Lyndon Johnson . . . Jimmy Carter. Even Eleanor Roosevelt.

    Plus all those remarkable characters: 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.

    It's hard to believe, but when Wallace was born in 1918 there wasn't even a radio in most American homes, much less a TV.

    As a youth, Wallace said, he was "an overachiever. I worked pretty hard. Played a hell of a fiddle."

    At the University of Michigan, where his parents hoped he'd become a doctor or lawyer, he got hooked instead on radio. And by 1941, Mike was the announcer on "The Green Hornet."

    "My family didn't know what to make of it - an announcer?" he recalled.

    He was soon the hardest-working announcer in broadcasting.

    When television arrived in the 1950s, Wallace was everywhere . . . variety shows, game shows, dramas, commercials.

    But it was an interview show called "Nightbeat," first broadcast in 1956, that Wallace remembered fit him like custom-made brass knuckles. "We decided to ask the irreverent question, the abrasive question, the who-gives-a-damn question."

    Some, like labor leader Mike Quill, had never been spoken to that way. "Go ahead and ask your stupid questions," he retorted.

    Neither had mobster Mickey Cohen, whom Wallace asked, "How many men have you killed, Mickey?"

    So when "60 Minutes" was born in 1968, Wallace brought with him his "Nightbeat" persona, and contributed 40 years' worth of nosiness, impertinence, and, of course, drama.

    Mike loved to mix it up. With producers, editors, even his fellow correspondents.

    "I mean, we were colleagues and competitors at the same time," Wallace recalled with Morley Safer. "And so, when I wanted to do a story, and you wanted to do a story, and it's the same story . . . "

    "And I come into the office the next day," added Safer, "and you're out of town doing the story!"

    But beneath the confident, even cocky exterior, Mike had his demons. Three times over the years, he was treated for severe depression, and revealed a few years back that he once tried to end it all with an

    overdose of sleeping pills.

    "Did you try to commit suicide at one point?" Safer asked.

    "I've never said this before. Yeah. I tried," he replied.

    There are those who think that, thanks to his wife Mary, Mike mellowed a bit in recent years. But as the specter of retirement bore down, Mike fought it with customary defiance.

    When asked whether it was time for him to "pack it in" and reflect, he replied, "Reflect about what? Give me a break. Reflect. What am I going to reflect about?"

    It was 65 years from Mike's first appearance on camera - a World War II film for the Navy - to his last television appearance, a "60 Minutes" interview with Roger Clemens, the baseball star trying to fight off accusations of steroid use.

    65 years!

    It's strange, but for such a tough guy, Mike's all-time favorite interview was the one with another legend, pianist Vladimir Horowitz. The two of them, forces of nature both: Sly, manic, egos rampant. For Mike - a red, white and blue kind of guy - Horowitz played "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

    It almost brought tears to the toughest guy on television.

    "It's astonishing what you learn and feel and see along the way," Wallace said. "That's why a reporter's job, as you know, is such a joy.
  2. atomicanderz

    atomicanderz Member

    Jan 19, 2010
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    He was a GREAT interviewer. Asked real questions, no Leno-esque softballs. I think the last time I watched him was interviewing A-Rod. I'll miss his style.
  3. moestavern19

    moestavern19 Member

    Dec 8, 1999
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    I just heard 100,000 thousand Steeler fans think "whew..."
  4. Bag0b0y

    Bag0b0y Member

    Aug 5, 2002
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    lol. I was thinking it was him when I first saw the thread title. Isn't he still a free agent?
  5. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
    Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2002
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    This guy was the youngest fake looking "whatever the Hell his age is!" guy on the planet for a while. It was actually kind of scary. I'll say this... he was good. I wouldn't have allowed him to interview me in a million years. People trooped into 60 Minutes to be laid waste by the guy, like Lemmings heading for that cliff. They just couldn't help themselves, I guess. 60 Minutes exists, in large part, because of Mike Wallace, for good or ill. Now you can relax, big fella.
  6. aghast

    aghast Member

    Aug 7, 2003
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    The apple fell far from the tree, unfortunately, both with his actual progeny, and his style of journalism.

    Modern journalism realized it was a lot cheaper to take his style against crooked auto mechanics and copy that, and forget he also actually challenged those in real power.

    His work will be missed.
  7. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

    Mar 27, 2005
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    Mike Wallace will always be a legend. 60 Minutes is my favorite show. Sad to see these guys slowly leave. Ed Bradley, Andy Rooney and now Mike.
  8. AB423

    AB423 Member

    Jun 27, 2008
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    I swore I thought he was only like 50 when I seen him.
  9. Htown's2kFinest

    Feb 20, 2010
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    lol haven't seen a 60 minutes in a long time but w/o mike it won't feel the same. r.i.p
  10. TexasFight

    TexasFight Member

    Dec 6, 2007
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    Seriously? I am a huge fan of Chris Wallace and "Fox News Sunday" - I think he's the best sunday morning show host out there... takes everyone to task on their beliefs and prior quotes - regardless of party.

    What makes you say that?

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