Walter Cronkite, whose 19 years at the helm of CBS News made him a fixture in Americas's living rooms, died Friday at age 92.
While he was best known as an exemplary news anchor, Cronkite also made 60 documentaries--many of which he produced after stepping down from CBS News in 1981. During his long tenure at CBS, which began in 1950, thanks to Edward R. Murrow's successful recruiting efforts, he played a vital role in such television series as You Are There (1953-57), Twentieth Century (1957-67), Eyewitness to History (1961-62), CBS Reports (1961-79) and 21st Century (1967-70). Following his retirement as managing editor at CBS News, Cronkite, to paraphrase his final sign-off, kept coming back for more. With his production companies The Cronkite Ward Company and Cronkite Productions, he made 36 documentaries for Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel, and his series Cronkite Remembers won a CableAce Award in 1997.
He earned numerous honors throughout his career, including a Peabody Award, a Polk Award, an Emmy Award-and, in 1992, the IDA Career Achievement Award.
He was the conduit through which contemporary American history flowed, and when he reported on the Vietnam War, and called it unwinnable, President Lyndon B. Johnson famously muttered to then-aide Bill Moyers, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." Here's an excerpt from an interview with Cronkite as he reflects on the Vietnam War:
And here's Cronkite on the occasion of CBS' 50th anniversary, in which he reads a commemorative poem by famed radio producer/writer Norman Corwin: