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Morley Safer, legendary ’60 Minutes’ correspondent, dies week after retiring

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Posted at 12:22 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 12:27:44-04

NEW YORK — Morley Safer, an intrepid storyteller and interviewer whose name became synonymous with the TV newsmagazine “60 Minutes,” has died. He was 84.

Safer, who announced last week that he was retiring, was the longest-serving correspondent in “60 Minutes” history. He joined the CBS program in 1970 and filed his last report in March.

CBS announced last Wednesday that the network would broadcast a special hour-long look at Safer’s broadcasting career on Sunday night.

“60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager said Safer knows that this is the right moment to retire.

“Morley and I have been talking about this for the past year,” Fager said by phone shortly after the announcement.

That’s why CBS started producing the retrospective, “Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life,” months ago.

Safer embodies the nearly 50-year history of “60 Minutes,” the most esteemed newsmagazine on any of the major networks.

When “60” launched in 1968, Safer was the London bureau chief for CBS News. He was already well-known and well-respected for his clear-eyed reporting from Vietnam earlier in the decade.

He joined “60” as a full-time correspondent in 1970 and has remained with the newsmagazine ever since.

Safer has slowed down in recent years, partly due to poor health, although he hasn’t spoken publicly about any specific ailments.

He had one report on the newsmagazine this season — a March profile of the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.

Fager, in a statement, called Safer “one of the most significant figures in CBS News history, on our broadcast and in many of our lives.”

“Morley’s curiosity, his sense of adventure and his superb writing, all made for exceptional work done by a remarkable man. The best of Morley Safer will be on display in our special broadcast this Sunday,” Fager said.