Almost a year has passed since we lost a wonderful colleague, and terrifically talented producer on our 60 Minutes team, Adrian "Clem" Taylor. Clem was one of those rare top-level television producers who was as competitive as they come, but would also seek you out to tell you he had a great story idea to give you. An encounter in the hallway with Clem would often lead to him offering advice on a story, or recommending something you should read to help your reporting.
Whether he was capturing the spirit of a remarkable group of impoverished orchestral musicians in the Congo, or illuminating the brave efforts of the residents of Belle Harbor during Hurricane Sandy, Clem's passionate curiosity and extraordinary generosity are impossible to miss in the stories he produced.
Clem spent nearly half of his 40-year journalism career at CBS News, the last four at 60 Minutes. We were lucky to have him. He lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on March 21, 2014.
He is sorely missed.
Clem and his co-producer, Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson, won two Emmys and a Peabody award for this April 2012 story on the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra. Based in the capital city of Kinshasa, it is the only symphony orchestra in central Africa, and the only all-black orchestra in the world.
"Every day we spent in the Congo was eye-opening for Clem, and for me," Laguerre-Wilkinson recalled. "It really enabled us to discover the humanity of these people who had been through so much. Clem really wanted to explore the area and meet people and one day asked our driver to take him to a cloth shop because he wanted to get a shirt made. Clem brought back a shirt with Patrice Lumumba on it. He loved that shirt, and I remember him wearing it to barbecues back home in NJ."
In November 2012, Clem was part of the team that reported on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on Belle Harbor, a New York City neighborhood on the Rockaway peninsula. Scott Pelley was the correspondent.
"I began working with Clem at CBS News more than 20 years ago," Pelley said. "The Belle Harbor story was our last together. That story was much like others we worked on together, filled with Clem's compassion for his fellow man. Empathy is the trait that makes a great reporter. Clem had it, perhaps more than anyone I've known."
In November 2011, Clem produced a profile of Christine Lagarde, the first woman to run the International Monetary Fund. "Clem was somebody who could associate well with anyone, whether we were doing stories with African kids from one of the world's most destitute places, or someone like Lagarde, one of the most powerful women in the world," Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson, who worked with him on the story, remembered. "She gave us really great access, even letting us into her home to film. That was the amazing thing about Clem, he could hobnob with anyone and put them at ease."
One of Clem's earliest pieces for 60 Minutes was a portrait of David Tang. In May 1998, Morley Safer profiled Tang, a Chinese entrepreneur whose goal was to establish the first Chinese brand in America.
The Clem Taylor Scholarship Fund
Clem's family and friends have set up "The Clem Taylor Scholarship Fund" which will be awarded each year to a high school senior from his hometown of Montclair, New Jersey. The scholarship will be given to a student who embodies the passion and commitment for journalism that Clem had during his own high school days. Click here to find out more information.