The Personal Side Of Ed Bradley

Friends Share Personal Memories Of Ed Bradley

This segment originally aired on Nov. 12, 2006.

Over the course of his 65 years, Ed Bradley was tagged with a lot of nicknames. "Teddy" was the one that Ed and his best friends often used when he went home from work and took off his tie. "Teddy" was the mischievous, off-duty alter ego, who liked to get up on stage at Jazz Fest in New Orleans to perform with Jimmy Buffet and The Neville Brothers or hang out in Aspen with Hunter S. Thompson.

In many ways, he was the same Ed Bradley that loved great food, stylish clothes, good cigars, and collected fine wine, the latest electronic gadgets and a very eclectic group of friends.

He drank the wine, and discarded the gadgets as soon as something more exotic came along, but the friends – he always kept the friends, and their numbers grew every day. Correspondent Steve Kroft introduces us to a few of the people who knew Ed best.

If you measure Ed Bradley by the people he knew and the company he kept, you get some sense of his enormous range and interests: former presidents, rock stars and actors – not to mention Jazz greats from Lionel Hampton and Quincy Jones to Wynton Marsalis, who has known Ed since the early 1990s.

"Well I was a teenager then when Ed first got on 60 Minutes," Marsalis remembers. "Like all the other younger Afro-Americans, we were impressed with him and in awe of him really. His sense of culture. His intelligence, his clarity and his soul."

Asked to talk about Ed's soul, Marsalis tells Kroft, "Oh, man. You know, they say that soul is when you have the ability to make other people feel better about being alive, regardless of their condition. And he possessed that in such abundance. And then, above those things, the sense of humor that makes you not be elitist or lofty. He was just as down home."

"He loved to have a good time, which we all like to have. But he loved to bring a good time," Marsalis says.

And it almost always involved music. Ed met one of his best friends, singer Jimmy Buffett more than 30 years ago, when Ed and Hunter Thompson dropped off the 1976 campaign trail for a few days and dropped in on Buffett in Key West.

"I think what we had in common was our nomadic sense of being. And we were travelers, and we were kind of gypsies out there. He and his journalistic endeavors, and me and music," Buffett recalls. "I kind of was the guy that introduced him to the music community in New Orleans where he, once he got the introduction, he not only loved New Orleans music, he loved New Orleans people to this day. They feel a deep loss in New Orleans. I know that."

It was in New Orleans that Ed found the perfect match for his sensibilities and his appetites: great food, great times, and the music he loved – from Gospel to Zydeco. And it was in New Orleans that another personality began to take shape: he would go up on stage to dance and perform on stage with "The Neville Brothers."

"I call him Teddy. Teddy's a little different than Ed," Bradley once said. "Ed would never do that."

Buffett says, "And, in the end, I probably made the mistake of allowing him on the stage one time to actually play with a band. And it was hard to get him off after that. But I got so much joy out of watching him attempt to be a shameless performer."

"Tell me about 'Teddy,'" Kroft asks.

"That happened when he got on stage the first time. Because it was somewhere in New Orleans and people in the crowd … they were saying, 'That looks like Ed Bradley up there from 60 Minutes.' And I go, 'No, no, that's Teddy Badly,'" Buffett remembers. "And so, it just was one of those things on the moment happened. And it kind of stuck."