Morley Safer, who has been with the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes since 1970, is retiring. The network said today that it will celebrate his career in an hourlong special titled Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life to air this Sunday after 60 Minutes.
Safer’s first season as a regular 60 Minutes correspondent began in 1970 with a story about the training of U.S. Sky Marshals. His final 60 Minutes report — number 919 — a profile of Danish Architect Bjarke Ingels, was broadcast in March. “After more than 50 years of broadcasting on CBS News and 60 Minutes I have decided to retire. It’s been a wonderful run, but the time has come to say goodbye to all of my friends at CBS and the dozens of people who kept me on the air,” said the 84-year-old Safer. “But most of all I thank the millions of people who have been loyal to our broadcast.”
In the special Safer speaks in interviews about some of the impactful work for which he is known. That includes his 1965 CBS News dispatch that changed war reporting, showing Marines torching the homes of Vietnamese villagers. Also included with be a clip from his 60 Minutes investigation that freed Lenell Geter, a black man wrongly convicted and sentenced to life in prison in Texas. In an appearance on the special, Geter credits Safer with saving his life. The hour also recall his profiles of Jackie Gleason, Katharine Hepburn and Anna Wintour, among others.
Among those interviewed for the special: former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, historian David McCullough and retired U.S. Brig. Gen. Joe Stringham, who commanded a Green Beret unit Safer accompanied into battle in Vietnam, and who remembers how, 51 years ago, Safer “was all business and he reported what he saw…We looked at eternity right in the face a couple times…and he was as cool as a hog on ice.”
60 Minutes EP Jeff Fager said in today’s announcement, “Morley has had a brilliant career as a reporter and as 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. Fager, who once produced 60 Minutes stories for Safer, also is among those interviewed for Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life.