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S20 Ep5: Walter Cronkite: Witness to History

Career Timeline

View a timeline of the life and career of Walter Cronkite.
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1916

Born November 4 in St. Joseph, Missouri to Dr. Walter Leland Cronkite Sr., a dentist, and Helena Lena Fritsch, a housewife.

1916
1939

Joins United Press news service as a correspondent after attending the University of Texas and working as a reporter for the HOUSTON PRESS.

1939
1942

Covers the battle of the North Atlantic.

1942
1944

Lands with the Allied troops in North Africa and takes part in the Normandy assaults. Drops with the 101st Airborne Division in Holland as part of the Third Army at the Battle of the Bulge.

1944
1945

Spends the post-war years establishing United Press bureaus in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Chief correspondent for the war trials of Goering and Hess at Nuremberg and bureau chief in Moscow for two years.

1945
1950

After broadcasting events in Washington for a group of Midwestern radio stations, joins CBS NEWS. Helps develop news department of CBS's new television station in Washington, D.C.

1950
1952

Heads coverage of the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions in the first nationally televised presidential campaign. Accompanies Harry S. Truman on a tour of the White House.

1952
1953

Anchors historical series, YOU ARE THERE, which runs for four years.

1953
1954

Co-host for THE MORNING SHOW on CBS.

1954
1956

Anchors the Democratic and Republican conventions. Begins coverage of American space program. Narrates the series, AIR POWER, which runs for two years.

1956
1957

Narrates and hosts the documentary series, THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, and its spin-off, THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, which runs until 1970.

1957
1959

Covers the first visit of Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev to the United States. President of Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1959-1960.

1959
1960

Anchors the Democratic and Republican conventions.

1960
1961

Covers the first American -manned space flight, of Alan B. Shepard Jr.; subsequently covers every manned flight.

1961
1962

Begins anchoring CBS EVENING NEWS. Chief correspondent for CBS REPORTS documentary, "Sabotage in South Africa."

1962
1963

CBS EVENING NEWS expands to a half-hour broadcast. Announces the assassination of President Kennedy live. Anchor for the first live transatlantic broadcast, in which General Dwight D. Eisenhower, former British Prime Minister Anthony Eden, and France's Jean Monett participate.

1963
1964

Anchors CBS REPORTS documentary, "Eisenhower Revisits Normandy, 1964," which includes an interview with the ex-president.

1964
1965

After visitsing Vietnam as CBS chief correspondent, Cronkite's criticism helps change the public opinion. "If I've lost Cronkite," President Lyndon Johnson says afterward, "I've lost middle America."

1965
1968

While anchoring the Democratic convention, criticizes the Chicago police after they push correspondent Dan Rather. Anchors the Republican convention.

1968
1969

Reports on Apollo moon landing, for which he receives an Emmy Award. Defends the freedom of the press following attempts by the Nixon administration to interfere with CBS NEWS reports.

1969
1971

Publishes his first book, EYE ON THE WORLD, an illustrated compendium of 1970. Receives another Emmy Award for his coverage of space flights Apollo 13 and 14.

1971
1972

Opens CBS EVENING NEWS with a 14-minute segment on Watergate, bringing the issue to the wider public. Anchors the Democratic and Republican conventions. One of the correspondents to accompany President Nixon to China and the Soviet Union.

1972
1973

Voted "The Most Trusted Man in America" in a public opinion survey.

1973
1974

Anchors CBS NEWS SPECIAL REPORT, "Space: A Report to the Stockholders," on the costs of the space program.

1974
1976

Anchors the Democratic and Republican conventions. Reports on the bicentennial celebrations, including the "Tall Ships" entering New York Harbor.

1976
1977

Interviews Anwar el-Sadat and Menachem Begin on CBS EVENING NEWS, which is considered an important diplomatic step in clearing barriers for an Egyptian-Israeli summit.

1977
1980

Anchors the Democratic and Republican conventions.

1980
1981

Steps down as anchor of CBS EVENING NEWS. Hosts and reports the science series UNIVERSE. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Carter.

1981
1982

Anchors CBS NEWS SPECIAL REPORTS, "The Great Nuclear Arms Debate." Conceives news series for children, WHY IN THE WORLD, which airs on PBS. Recipient of National Association of Broadcaster's Distinguished Service Award. Publishes SOUTH BY SOUTHEAST.

1982
1983

Narrates the spoken word album "The Way It Was: The Sixties."

1983
1984

Correspondent at Democratic and Republican conventions. Returns to anchor position on CBS EVENING NEWS in June to commemorate the 40th anniversary of D-Day. Named Adjunct Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

1984
1985

Inducted to the Television Hall of Fame. Appointed first Josephine B. and Newton Minow Visiting Professor in the communications department at Northwestern University.

1985
1986

Anchors the series, WALTER CRONKITE AT LARGE. Host of the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Day broadcast.

1986
1992

Signs a three-year deal with Discovery Communications, parent company of the Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel, to anchor, executive produce, and executive edit various projects.

1992
1993

Co-founds The Cronkite Ward Company, which produces more than 100 award-winning documentary hours for The Discovery Channel, PBS, and other networks.

1993
1995

Broadway debut, providing voice-over for "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

1995
1996

Completes autobiography, A REPORTER'S LIFE.

1996
1997

Successfully undergoes heart bypass surgery.

1997
1998

Anchors the second space flight by John Glenn, as he had Glenn's first in 1962.

1998
1999

Accepts the 1999 Norman Cousins Global Governance Award at the United Nations.

1999
2004

Appears in the Robert Greenwald film OUTFOXED, where he offers commentary on the alleged unethical and overtly political practices at the FOX News Channel.

2004
2005

His wife of almost 65 years, the former Betsy Maxwell, dies at the age of 89.

2005
2006

Becomes the first non-astronaut to receive NASA's Ambassador of Exploration Award.

2006
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