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Richard Wagner, longtime CBS News correspondent, dies at age 85

Richard Wagner, an award-winning CBS News correspondent whose career at the network spanned across four decades, has died. He was 85.

Wagner began working for CBS News in 1964 and covered some of the most significant stories from the second half of the 20th century, including the Vietnam War, the 1986 explosion of the Challenger space shuttle, and Nelson Mandela's release from a South African prison in 1990.

Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner CBS

Wagner talked about the perils of reporting from the war zone in Vietnam on the "Captured Culture" podcast in 2018, according to entertainment news website Deadline.

"I recall a situation once where we were pinned down, couldn't move, and then the barrage lifted almost as quickly as it had begun, and I wanted to swiftly stand up now that it was safe and do a standup," Wagner said. "… I found that my hand was shaking so much that I really couldn't do it. It affected me so much that I couldn't do what I had to do until I collected myself."

Wagner received the Society of Professional Journalists' prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for his radio reporting on the 1984 death of Newsweek photographer John Hoagland in El Salvador. He was also honored for his coverage of the Persian Gulf in the years leading up to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Before joining CBS News, Wagner served at the U.S. Army's Biological Warfare Research Center in Maryland between 1959 and 1962.

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