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Harry Reasoner

Harry Reasoner reporting for ABC News on August 8, 1974 about the impending resignation announcement by then-President Richard Nixon.
Born April 17, 1923(1923-04-17)
Dakota City, Iowa, U.S.
Died August 6, 1991 (aged 68)
Westport, Connecticut, U.S.
Education Stanford University,
University of Minnesota
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) 1 Kathleen Carroll Reasoner
2) Lois Harriett Weber
Children Seven

Harry Reasoner (April 17, 1923 – August 6, 1991) was an American journalist known for his inventive use of language as a television commentator, and as a founder of the 60 Minutes program.

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Biography

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Journalism: CBS News

Reasoner was born in Dakota City, Iowa. He attended West High School in Minneapolis, going on to study journalism at Stanford University and the University of Minnesota. He served in World War II and then resumed his journalism career with The Minneapolis Times. His novel Tell Me About Women, about a fading marriage, was written partly during his WWII service and was first published in 1946.

After going into radio with CBS in 1948, Reasoner worked for the United States Information Agency in the Philippines. When he returned stateside, he went into television and worked at station KEYD (later KMSP) in Minneapolis. Reasoner then moved to New York, where he hosted a morning news program called Calendar on top of doing commentator and special news narration duties.

Reasoner was at the anchor desk for CBS when Lee Harvey Oswald, accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, was shot by Jack Ruby. While CBS was covering the memorial service for President Kennedy live from Washington with Roger Mudd, the network abruptly switched back to Reasoner in New York who informed the viewers that something had happened in the Dallas City Jail. CBS then switched to KRLD's coverage of the incident at the jail; at that point Oswald had already been shot by Ruby, who was being wrestled to the ground and taken away by police and agents. Shortly thereafter, Reasoner confirmed the shooting of Oswald and CBS replayed the coverage from the start, showing the actual shooting. (Reasoner was not at the anchor desk when Oswald's death was announced, having been replaced by Walter Cronkite.)

60 Minutes and ABC News

In 1968, Reasoner teamed up with Mike Wallace to begin the 60 Minutes newsmagazine series. At 60 Minutes, and elsewhere, he often worked with producer and writer Andy Rooney, who later became a well-known correspondent in his own right.

Reasoner joined ABC in 1970 as co-anchor with Howard K. Smith (himself a CBS alumnus) of the ABC Evening News until 1976, when Reasoner became sole anchor; Smith did only commentaries from that time until his 1979 retirement. Later in 1976 Reasoner was given another co-anchor, this time it was recent NBC defector Barbara Walters. Walters and Reasoner did not enjoy a close relationship; Reasoner not only did not like sharing the spotlight with a co-anchor but was uncomfortable with Walters' celebrity status. The arrangement ended in 1978, and Reasoner returned to CBS and 60 Minutes where he remained until he retired in May 1991.

Reasoner was married twice, to Kathleen Carroll Reasoner for 34 years and then to Lois Harriett Weber. He had seven children by his first marriage. Reasoner died three months after his retirement in 1991 from a blood clot in the brain received from a fall at his home in Westport, Connecticut. He is interred at Union Cemetery in Humboldt, Iowa. An editorial cartoon the day after his death showed Reasoner arriving at the Pearly Gates, with a startled St. Peter crying, "Oh, no! It's 60 Minutes!"

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Preceded by
Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds
ABC Evening News anchor
1970-78
(co-anchor with Howard K. Smith until 1976 and Barbara Walters until 1978)
Succeeded by
Frank Reynolds, Max Robinson, and Peter Jennings
as World News Tonight

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