Don Hewitt: His Life and Career

A Look at the Life and Career of the Pioneering Television Journalist Best Known as the Creator of "60 Minutes"
















Don Hewitt: 1922-2009


A look at the life and career of the pioneering television journalist best known as the creator of "60 Minutes."


Photos: Hewitt's Life and Career

Photos: Friends and Colleagues Remember Hewitt

Read More: Don Hewitt Dies At 86
















Dec. 14, 1922


Don Hewitt is born in New York City.

















1942


Hewitt begins his journalism career as head copyboy for the New York Herald Tribune, after attending New York University for one year.


Joins Merchant Marines.















1943-45


Works for Stars and Stripes and becomes youngest war correspondent assigned to Eisenhower's Headquarters. Covers European and then Pacific theaters.















1946


Becomes night editor for the Associated Press in Memphis. Returns to New York to be editor of the Pelham Sun and then photo editor for ACME News Pictures (then-photo division of UPI).















1948



Well into a successful print journalism career, Hewitt joins CBS News to bring his craft to the new medium of television. He starts as associate director of "Douglas Edwards with the News," then serves as producer-director of the broadcast for 14 years.



Covers first political convention - the first to be televised - and becomes pioneer in methods of covering conventions, remaining a key player in CBS News coverage of all conventions and elections through 1980.















Nov. 18, 1951



"See It Now," CBS' first news documentary series, debuts with Edward R. Murrow as host and Hewitt in the director's chair. The program becomes the first live coast-to-coast commercial television broadcast and runs through July 7, 1958.















1950s


His use of two film projectors cutting back and forth breaks up monotony of talking head, improves editing and shapes future of news broadcasts.


Uses "lower third" of television screen for the display of graphic information that becomes known as "supers."















1952


Directs-produces coverage of political conventions and helps shape Walter Cronkite's news role as "anchor."















1953


Directs-produces coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.















1956


Flying over the Atlantic, gets the only footage of the sinking Andrea Doria as it disappears into the sea.















Sept. 26, 1960


Hewitt produces the Kennedy/Nixon presidential debate, at which both men turn down his offer of TV makeup, to the lasting regret of the ashen, sweating Nixon. The broadcast has an impact far beyond helping Kennedy to victory: It proves the power of television over the electoral process.















1962


Directs the history-making "A Conversation with the President" with John F. Kennedy, which airs on three networks.















Sept. 2, 1963


The "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite" expands from 15 minutes to 30, Monday through Friday. Hewitt is the executive producer.















Sept. 2, 1965


Becomes head of CBS News documentary unit and directs-produces first in-depth news special on Frank Sinatra.















1968


"CBS Reports: Hunger in America" explores the shortcomings of government food programs; Hewitt serves as executive producer. So great is the program's impact that more than $200 million in additional funds are voted for food programs, and a U.S. Senate inquiry begins.















Sept. 24, 1968


"60 Minutes," Hewitt's idea for a TV version of Life magazine's weekly words-and-photos recipe, debuts as a biweekly program on Tuesday evenings.















Sept. 24, 1971


Pits journalist Nicholas von Hoffman against columnist and grammarian James J. Kilpatrick in first "Point-Counterpoint" segment.















Sept. 24, 1975


Now settled into its Sunday-at-7 timeslot, "60 Minutes" becomes a Top 20 prime-time series. A year later, it cracks the Top 10, and stays there for the next 13 seasons.















Sept. 24, 1978


Gives Andy Rooney a "Few Minutes" during summer broadcasts - the segment becomes part of the program, alternating with "Point-Counterpoint."















Sept. 24, 1980


Hewitt is named Broadcaster of the Year by the International Radio and Television Society.















1985


Hewitt publishes "Minute By Minute," his autobiographical book about television news and his creation of "60 Minutes."















1990


Elected to the Television Academy Hall of Fame.















1993


Elected to the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.















1995


Hewitt is awarded the Founders Emmy by the International Council of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has won a total of eight Emmys for his work with CBS News.















1998


Video shot by Dr. Jack Kevorkian showing him lethally injecting a terminally ill man is broadcast on "60 Minutes." The controversial tape leads to Kevorkian's conviction for second degree murder.















1999


The Committee to Protect Journalists honors Hewitt with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for "a lifetime of distinguished achievement in the cause of press freedom."















2001


Hewitt chronicles his life as a newsman in his second book "Tell Me a Story: Fifty Years and 60 Minutes in Television."















Jan. 27, 2003


CBS announces that Hewitt will relinquish his "60 Minutes" executive producer post in June 2004. Under the terms of a new multi-year agreement, Hewitt will assume new editorial responsibilities as executive producer for CBS News.















Dec. 1, 2007


Executive produces the first-ever network television special coverage of Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Show - on NBC.















April 3, 2008


Hewitt is honored with Washington State University's Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcast Journalism.















March 2009


Hewitt is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.















Aug. 19, 2009










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