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Mike Wallace

(1918 - 2012)


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Myron "Mike" Wallace was a Jewish American journalist and actor most famous for being a correspondent on the news program 60 Minutes.

Wallace (born May 9, 1918; died April 7, 2012) was born in Brookline, Massachusetts to two Jewish parents who had immigrated to the United States from Russia.  Their original surname, Wallik, was changed by his parents Frank and Zina when they came to America. Wallace attended Brookline High School and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1939. While in college, he worked as a reporter for a local newspaper and also belonged to the traditionally Jewish ZBT fraternity.

Wallace enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943, and served as a communications officer during World War II on the USS Anthedon, a submarine tender. He saw no combat, but travelled to Hawaii, Australia, and Subic Bay in the Philippines, then patrolling the South China Sea, the Philippine Sea and south of Japan. He was discharged in 1946.

During the late 1940's and 1950's, Wallace hosted a number of TV game shows, including The Big Surprise, starred in a few TV shows, and acted for commercials. From 1963 to 1966, he hosted an early version of The CBS Morning News and in 1968 he became one of the original correspondents for CBS's 60 Minutes news program.

Wallace was prone to some controversy for his interviewees, who included Louis Farrakhan, Yasser Arafat, Abba Eban, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Nonetheless, he was awarded 21 Emmy Awards, five DuPont-Columbia journalism awards and five Peabody Awards during his career. On March 14, 2006, Wallace announced his retirement from 60 Minutes after 37 years with the program though he continued to do a few segments. His final interview for the show was with baseball star Roger Clemens.

Wallace died at the age of 93 at a care facility in Connecticut. He was married four times and had two children - Chris, also a journalist, and Peter, who died at the age of 19 in 1962 while mountain climbing in Greece.


Sources: JTA (April 8, 2012), Wikipedia

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