Mike Wallace, broadcast journalist and reporter for CBS’s “60 Minutes,” on Saturday at a care center in Connecticut. He was 93.
Wallace conducted interviews in his time on air, probing icons including Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Ayatollah Khomeini, surrealist artist Salvador Dalí and birth control activist Margaret Sanger.
Wallace’s last interview on television was in 2008 with baseball player Roger Clemens following accusations of steroid use by the pitcher.
Wallace won 21 Emmy Awards during his time as a journalist, with his last for an interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
He won five DuPont-Columbia journalism awards, the Robert F. Kennedy journalism award and five Peabody awards.
“Mike Wallace was one of the great investigative journalists of our generation,” said Boston University College of Communication Dean Thomas Fiedler.
Any politician or person in power knew they were in trouble when they opened a door and found Wallace on the other end with a microphone and camera, Fiedler said.
“In many ways he personified ‘60 Minutes.’ His particular style was unique,” Fiedler said. “He wasn’t a glamorous reporter – he was just tough as nails.”
CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, who is the executive producer of “60 Minutes,” said on the CBS website that Wallace’s contribution as a broadcaster was “immeasurable.”
“He loved the fact that if he showed up for an interview, it made people nervous. . . . He knew, and he knew that everybody else knew that he was going to get to the truth,” Fager said. “And that’s what motivated him.”
Wallace was a hard-lined reporter in his years on television, calling out the hypocrisies and misdeeds of his interviewees on occasion.
In his interview with Putin, Wallace challenged the leader and said, “This isn’t a real democracy, come on.”
CBS will dedicate an episode of “60 Minutes” to Wallace on April 15.