Wallace Announces He Will Retire at End of ’60 Minutes’ Season

Mar 14, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Mike Wallace, who has been vowing-but failing-to cut back his “60 Minutes” workload for several years now, said Tuesday that he’s going to retire at the end of this TV season, his 38th with the pioneering newsmagazine. After his retirement he will assume the status of correspondent emeritus.

In a statement, Mr. Wallace, 87, said that he has tended to respond to questions about when he would retire by saying, “I’ll retire when my toes turn up.”

“Well, they’re just beginning to curl a trifle, which means that as I approach my 88th birthday, it’s become apparent to me that my eyes and ears, among other appurtenances, aren’t quite what they used to be,” the statement said. “And the prospect of long flights to wherever in search of whatever are not quite as appealing.”

“But CBS is not pushing me,” he said in his statement. “I’ll be in a comfortable office on the same floor-just around the corner from where I’ve holed up for the past 43 years-available, when asked, for whatever chore CBS News, “60 Minutes,” “CBS Evening News,” etc., have in mind for me.

Mr. Wallace’s many honors over the years include 19 Emmys, three Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards and three George Foster Peabody Awards.

His distinct voice, unwavering manner and long list of scoops and bombshells over the years have, for many people, made him “Mr. 60 Minutes.”

Sean McManus, president of CBS News and CBS Sports, said in a statement, “Mike Wallace is one of a few giants of broadcast journalism for whom a list of endless superlatives can’t and don’t do justice. From his genre-creating early days in radio to his standard-setting work on ’60 Minutes’ for the past 38 years, and from datelines all over the world, Mike has completely embodied what good, tough, fair journalism should be over the course of his 60-plus years in the business. And he’s broken more than his share of big stories along the way. I’m very pleased that he’ll remain at CBS News as correspondent emeritus. There is no finer journalist from whom everyone in the news business can learn.”

“60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager said in a statement: “Mike Wallace as been the heart and soul of this broadcast since he and [creator] Don [Hewitt] started it almost four decades ago. Millions and millions of Americans have tuned in to ’60 Minutes’ on Sunday nights over all those years to see him in action and to find out what questions he would be asking each week. I’m glad he’ll be around to do an occasional interview. He’s had such a powerful impact on all of us who work here, on how we conduct interviews and how we report stories that there will always be a piece of Mike in everything we do.”