(CBS News) Harry Reasoner died Aug. 6, 1991, at the age of 68 after a nearly 50-year career in news that saw him reach the heights of television journalism. A national news anchor for CBS News and ABC News, Reasoner was also one of the founding correspondents of "60 Minutes."
Reasoner was alongside Mike Wallace when "60 Minutes" premiered on Sept. 24, 1968. He exited the broadcast after two seasons in the fall of 1970 to join ABC News, where he anchored its weeknight evening news, first with Howard K. Smith, then as a solo anchor, and then in the history-making pairing with Barbara Walters, the first female network evening news anchor. Reasoner rejoined CBS News and "60 Minutes" in the middle of 1978.
Reasoner won many awards throughout his career. Reporting for "60 Minutes," he received a 1983 Emmy for "Michael Doyle's Camden," a look at a decaying city through the eyes of its parish priest. In 1981, he received an Emmy for "Welcome to Palermo," a graphic report of the violence and terror in Sicily caused by illegal drug trafficking.
In addition, he received: the Honor Medal from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1970; a 1967 George Foster Peabody Award for "Outstanding Contributions to Television News During 1966"; the Southwest Journalism Forum Certificate of Recognition for "Clarity, Wit and Thoroughness in News Broadcasting" from Southern Methodist University and the Press Club of Dallas in 1964; the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Achievement Award in 1968. He was also honored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences the same year as the writer of the broadcast "What About Ronald Reagan?" and received the University of Southern California Journalism Alumni Association Distinguished Achievement Award in 1969.
He co-anchored the presidential desk for CBS News' coverage of Campaign Election Night returns, covered the 1966 elections to the House of Representatives, and reported from the podium in the 1968 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Reasoner also served on the CBS News team of convention floor correspondents during Campaign '80, and anchored the Eastern regional desk for coverage of both Election Night and Election Night returns.
Reasoner's work at ABC News, between 1970 and 1978, included serving as the network's chief correspondent in Peking for the Emmy Award-winning coverage of President Nixon's trip to the People's Republic of China. In 1975, he returned to China with President Ford. He also co-anchored ABC News special coverage of President Nixon's summit sessions in the Soviet Union in May 1972.
Reasoner anchored ABC News coverage of numerous presidential primary elections in the 1972 and 1976 campaigns, as well as the coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in those years. He co-anchored ABC News coverage of election nights in 1972, 1974 and 1976, and the inaugurations of 1973 and 1977. He also co-anchored coverage of the events surrounding the resignation of President Nixon.
In 1974, he was honored with an Emmy as News Broadcaster of the Year for his ABC work. He also received the Overseas Press Club of America Award for "Best Television Documentary of Foreign Affairs in 1973" for his "Report from Africa," seen on ABC's "The Reasoner Report." Back at CBS, he anchored a radio version of "The Reasoner Report" beginning in 1979.
Reasoner became a reporter for the Minneapolis Times shortly after high school in 1942 to start his journalism career. After Army service in World War II, he returned to the Times as drama critic from 1946 to 1948. Reasoner then became a news writer for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis in 1950, spent three years with the United States Information Agency in Manila, and returned to Minneapolis as news director of KEYD-TV. In July 1956, Reasoner joined CBS News in New York, where he co-hosted "Calendar" with Mary Fickett, and reported on numerous CBS News Special Reports and News Specials. He was promoted to weekend anchor, sitting in the chair for "The CBS Sunday News" from February 1963 to November 1970. He served briefly as the network's White House correspondent (1965-66).
Reasoner was born April 17, 1923, in Dakota City, Iowa. He attended Stanford University and the University of Minnesota. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 1989.