Avoiding Armageddon
About the Series

Ted Turner Documentaries

Behind the Scenes

Walter Cronkite
Frank Sesno
Executive Producer
Chris Guarino
Executive Producer
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Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite has covered virtually every major news event during his more than 60 years in journalism — the last 50 affiliated with CBS News. He became a special correspondent for CBS News when he stepped down on March 6, 1981 after 19 years as anchorman and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News." Affectionately nicknamed "Old Iron Pants" for his unflappability under pressure, Cronkite's accomplishments — both on-air and off — have won him acclaim and trust from journalism colleagues and the American public alike.

Born in St. Joseph, MO on November 4, 1916, Cronkite began his career in journalism as a campus correspondent at The Houston Post during high school and his freshman year at college. He also worked as a sports announcer for a local radio station in Oklahoma City and joined the United Press in 1937, where he remained for 11 years.
Walter Cronkite

It was as a United Press correspondent that Cronkite covered World War II — landing with the invading Allied troops in North Africa, covering the battle of the North Atlantic in 1942, taking part in the Normandy beachhead assaults in 1944 and participating as one of the first newsmen in B-17 raids over Germany. After reporting the German surrender, Cronkite established United Press bureaus in Europe, was named United Press bureau chief in Brussels and covered the Nuremberg trials of Goering, Hess and other top Nazis. From 1946 to 1948, he was chief correspondent for United Press in Moscow.

In July 1950, Cronkite joined CBS News in Washington as a correspondent and was anchorman for their political convention and election coverage from 1952 to 1980. He assumed his duties on the "CBS Evening News" on April 16, 1962, which began as a 15-minute broadcast. On September 2, 1963, it debuted as network television's first half-hour, weeknight news broadcast with Cronkite's headline-making interview with President John F. Kennedy.

Following his departure on March 6, 1981 from the "CBS Evening News," Cronkite hosted several acclaimed CBS documentary programs, including the Emmy-winning "Children of Apartheid" and the CBS News science magazine series "Walter Cronkite's Universe." In 1985, Cronkite was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.

Cronkite was the only journalist to be voted among the top 10 "most influential decision-makers in America" in surveys conducted by U.S. News and World Report and also was named the "most influential person" in broadcasting. In a nationwide viewer opinion survey conducted as recently as 1995, more than a decade after leaving the CBS anchor desk, he again was voted "Most Trusted Man in Television News."

As an avid sailor of his then 48-foot yacht, "Wyntje," Cronkite recorded his experiences sailing waterways from the Chesapeake Bay to Key West in his book "South by Southeast" (Oxmoor House, 1983), with paintings by artist Ray Ellis accompanying his text. Other collaborations with Ellis resulted in "North by Northeast" (Oxmoor House, 1986), which covered his trips sailing the northeast coastal waterways, and in "Westwind" (Oxmoor House, 1990) he recounted his sailing tour of America's West Coast. His most recent sailing book, "Around America," was published in August 2001 (W.W. Norton). Cronkite's first book, "Eye on the World" (Cowles, 1971) is an edited compendium of CBS News reporting on the major trends and stories of 1970, for which he provided analysis and commentary.

In addition to his ongoing assignments as a special correspondent for CBS, Cronkite maintains a demanding international lecture and public appearance schedule and also hosts many public affairs and cultural programs. In 1993 he co-founded The Cronkite Ward Co., which has produced more than 60 award-winning documentary hours for The Discovery Channel, PBS and other networks.

In 1996, Cronkite's production company, in collaboration with CBS and The Discovery Channel, produced his memoirs entitled "Cronkite Remembers." The two-hour CBS special aired in May of that year, and the eight-hour series premiered later on The Discovery Channel. Also in 1996, Cronkite completed his autobiography, "A Reporter's Life," published by Knopf.

Cronkite and his wife of 62 years live in New York City.

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