A news writer with guts
Bob Simon was among a handful of elite journalists, a “reporter’s reporter,” according to his executive producer.
His assignments took him from the Vietnam War to the Oscar-nominated movie Selma. He spent years doing foreign reporting for CBS News, particularly from the Middle East, where he was held captive for more than a month in Iraq two decades ago.
Simon, who survived reporting from some of the most intense war zones of the 20th century, died Wednesday in an urban car crash. The longtime 60 Minutes correspondent was 73.
“Bob Simon was a giant of broadcast journalism, and a dear friend to everyone in the CBS News family,” CBS News president David Rhodes said. “We are all shocked by this tragic, sudden loss.”
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, his eyes red, announced the death in a special report.
“We have some sad news from within our CBS News family,” Pelley said. “Our colleague, Bob Simon, was killed this evening.”
“Vietnam is where he first began covering warfare, and he gave his firsthand reporting from virtually every major battlefield around the world since,” Pelley said.
Simon had been contributing to 60 Minutes on a regular basis since 1996. He also was a correspondent for 60 Minutes II.
He was preparing a report on the Ebola virus and the search for a cure for this Sunday’s 60 Minutes broadcast.
He had been working on the project with his daughter, Tanya Simon, a producer with whom he collaborated on several stories.
Anderson Cooper, who does occasional stories for 60 Minutes, was near tears talking about Simon’s death.
He said that when Simon presented a story “you knew it was going to be something special.”
“I dreamed of being, and still hope to be, a quarter of the writer that Bob Simon is and has been,” the CNN anchor said. “Bob Simon was a legend, in my opinion.”
Correspondent Steve Kroft said the 60 Minutes team was shaken by Simon’s death.
“He was a great writer, he was a wonderful colleague, he was a gutsy reporter, a true gentleman and really a stylish, old-school journalist who knew the Middle East as well as any reporter on the map,” Kroft said.
“Nobody could replicate him. Nobody could do it his way,” 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan said. “He had that unique touch that people just loved.”
Simon joined CBS News in 1967 as a reporter and assignment editor, covering campus unrest and innercity riots, CBS said.