The people who made 60 Minutes what it is

Remembering a few of the legends that made 60 Minutes the broadcast it is today

Here at 60 Minutes, we stand on the shoulders of giants. A few thoughts from this relative newcomer on those who came before.

Don Hewitt, founder of 60 Minutes, at his desk in 1986 CBS Photo Archive

First and foremost: Don Hewitt. Without his drive, his enthusiasm, his uncanny ability to shape an everyday story into something truly memorable, the broadcast would have folded long ago.

Mike Wallace, photographed in the 60 Minutes control room in 2001, died on April 7th 2012 at the age of 93 Peter Freed/CBS

Mike Wallace: tough, funny, difficult - the beating heart of 60 Minutes. It made his day to walk through an airport and hear people say -- as they often did -- "give 'em hell, Mike."

Morley Safer used a typewriter until late in his life CBS Photo Archive

Morley Safer spent 46 years here, longer than anyone.  A sophisticate right down to his pocket squares, he was a great writer and a gentleman in a business populated by a fair number of maniacs.

Ed Bradley spoke to Neil Armstrong in November of 2005 about landing on the moon and the attention he received afterward Aaron Tomlinson

Ed Bradley. Versatile. Compassionate. Always the coolest guy in the room. When I was growing up, there was hardly anybody who looked like me on television news. And along came Ed, paving the way for me and many others.

Bob Simon soaked up the sun aboard The Moken Queen in the Andaman Sea, during a shoot in 2005 Derek Williams

Bob Simon was proud of the fact that in nearly a half-century traveling the world for CBS News, he never missed a single flight. He did his last story with the same curiosity and energy as the first.  

Andy Rooney bid farewell to viewers on October 2, 2011 Brian Rooney

And finally, Andy Rooney, who spent 33 years here as the resident grouch. Since this was his spot in the broadcast, we cede the floor and let Andy speak for himself.

Andy Rooney: I don't like to complain all the time but that's what I do for a living and I'm lucky 'cause there's so much to complain about. Public toilets... car mufflers... faucets... fences... cookbooks... the doorknob... Christmas catalogs, gloves... cardboard... cats... It wouldn't hurt if we could improve certain parts of what we're like and how we behave.  Maybe the drug companies can come up with a pill that would cure us of the evil in our nature. Things like hate, jealousy, dishonesty, selfishness. And one more thing, but this may be asking too much, I wish there was something we could all take to cure us of stupidity.

We close tonight with thanks, to the many people who have made 60 Minutes tick over 50 years -- to all the producers, editors, studio personnel, camera and sound people and others who contribute to the broadcast each week.  

We especially thank you, our viewers for joining us all these years.

Produced by David Browning, Warren Lustig and Michelle St. John. Associate producer, Tadd J. Lascari.