Pro­ducer for ‘60 Min­utes’ worked closely with Mike Wal­lace

The Washington Post Sunday - - OBITUARIES - BY BRID­GET REED MO­RAWSKI brid­getreed.mo­rawski@wash­post.com

Mar­ion Goldin, a jour­nal­ist who be­came one of the first fe­male pro­duc­ers for the CBS-TV news­magazine pro­gram “60 Min­utes,” worked closely with the show’s star cor­re­spon­dent Mike Wal­lace and shared some of the high­est awards of her pro­fes­sion, died June 15 at her home in Palm Springs, Calif. She was 76.

The law firm rep­re­sent­ing her es­tate de­clined to dis­close the cause of death.

CBS News ex­ec­u­tive Don He­witt cre­ated “60 Min­utes” in 1968 as what he called “Life mag­a­zine of the air,” with en­gag­ing pro­files of Hol­ly­wood stars and other news­mak­ers, con­fronta­tional in­ter­views with heads of state and ti­tans of busi­ness, and hard-hit­ting ex­posés of wrong­do­ers. The pro­gram com­bined, to great suc­cess, the depth of doc­u­men­tarystyle re­port­ing with the editorial and visual pac­ing of an entertainment show.

He­witt hired an ar­ray of on-air cor­re­spon­dents, in­clud­ing Wal­lace, Diane Sawyer, Ed Bradley and Mor­ley Safer, who be­came house­hold names.

The back­stage pro­duc­ers such as Mrs. Goldin re­mained just that, but they helped shape the re­ports and per­sonas of the “star” jour­nal­ists. And they also were essen­tial to mak­ing the show, with its trade­mark tick­ing stop­watch, one of the high­est-rated and most in­flu­en­tial prime-time se­ries ever.

Mrs. Goldin, a Har­vard gradu- ate who had worked as a re­searcher for the CBS News stal­wart Eric Se­vareid and for “CBS Morn­ing News,” joined “60 Min­utes” in 1972. She re­mained with the show for the next decade and again from 1984 to 1988, fre­quently part­ner­ing with Wal­lace.

One of their first pieces to­gether in­volved the un­fold­ing Water­gate po­lit­i­cal scan­dal that was just start­ing to con­sume Pres­i­dent Richard M. Nixon’s White House and would re­sult in the pres­i­dent’s res­ig­na­tion in 1974. They were as­signed to cover the 1972 Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can con­ven­tions, both held in Mi­ami Beach.

“Mike Wal­lace was a tiger for a good story,” she wrote on her blog in 2012 af­ter Wal­lace died. “Find­ing ob­scure, Water­gate re­lated per­sons among the del­e­gates, fac­ing skep­ti­cism if not out­right op­po­si­tion from our bosses plus ex­plicit memos from the Repub­li­can Party de­scrib­ing this con­ven­tion as a coro­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Nixon . . . we turned the 1972 Repub­li­can con­ven­tion into a ve­hi­cle for bring­ing the Water­gate saga to a wider Amer­i­can au­di­ence, many of whom were hear­ing about it for the first time.”

They worked on dozens of sub­se­quent sto­ries, from a chill­ing in­ter­view with the mafia-killer-turned-in­for­mant Jimmy “The Weasel” Fra­tianno to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into what “60 Min­utes” called “pa­tient dump­ing,” where for-profit hos­pi­tals sent unin­sured pa­tients to pub­lic or char­ity hos­pi­tals.

An­other story, “The 36-Hour Day” (1987), helped bring to light the prac­tice of med­i­cal in­terns and res­i­dents reg­u­larly work­ing ex­haust­ing shifts with min­i­mal breaks. Some states be­gan to man­date shorter hours be­cause of the po­ten­tial haz­ards posed to pa­tients by drained young doc­tors. The coun­cil that ac­cred­its grad­u­ate med­i­cal schools in­sti­tuted na­tional re­forms in 2003.

Mrs. Goldin left CBS in 1982 to work as a se­nior pro­ducer for ABC News’s “20/20” news­magazine pro­gram, but she said Wal­lace lured her back af­ter two years.

Be­hind the scenes, her re­la­tion­ship with Wal­lace was com­pli­cated. She de­scribed him on her blog as gen­er­ous and charm­ing at times, both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally. He went out of his way to credit pro­duc­ers for his suc­cess, she said.

But, she wrote, he was also a rag­ing ego­ma­niac with de­pres­sive ten­den­cies — “the in­car­na­tion of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde — ca­pa­ble of such gra­tu­itous cru­elty & bul­ly­ing that few were pre­pared to counter.”

She re­called that af­ter her fa­ther died, she had to tem­po­rar­ily leave an as­sign­ment. On her re­turn, Wal­lace greeted her by yelling, “How could you be so self-in­dul­gent?” And she added that he was par­tic­u­larly bru­tal to­ward women, us­ing the foulest of lan­guage to “den­i­grate the women in his midst.”

Nonethe­less, said Gail Freed­man, a for­mer spokes­woman for “60 Min­utes” and a friend of Mrs. Goldin’s, “he wouldn’t have had her there if he didn’t trust her im­plic­itly. It was his face go­ing out there.”

Mar­ion Louise Freed­man was born Sept. 5, 1940, in Brook­lyn and grew up in Wood­mere on Long Is­land. She re­ceived a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in gov­ern­ment stud­ies from Barnard Col­lege in 1962 and a mas­ter’s de­gree in ed­u­ca­tion from Har­vard Univer­sity in 1963.

She set­tled in the Wash­ing­ton area af­ter her mar­riage in 1967 to Nor­man Goldin, a tax lawyer. He died in 1992. Sur­vivors in­clude a brother.

In ad­di­tion to her ca­reer at “60 Min­utes,” Mrs. Goldin worked as a pro­ducer at “Chil­dren’s Ex­press News­magazine,” NBC News’s short-lived in­ves­tiga­tive se­ries “Ex­posé” and the PBS show “Front­line.” Her work earned Emmy and Pe­abody awards.

In ad­di­tion to her home in the District, Mrs. Goldin had a win­ter home in Palm Springs. She ac­cu­mu­lated a trove of art, a por­tion of which she do­nated to the Phillips Col­lec­tion in Wash­ing­ton and the Palm Springs Art Mu­seum.

Mar­ion Goldin helped shape the re­ports and per­sonas of the jour­nal­ists on “60 Min­utes” and aided the show’s suc­cess.

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