Virtuoso Charles Osgood

When Charles Osgood joined CBS News Sunday Morning as anchor in 1994, it was not business as usual. He was already revered by his audience on radio, for The Osgood File, and by viewers of television news, for the CBS Evening News With Dan Rather, among others. But it was his off-screen passions that came into play on Sunday Morning, specifically his banjo and piano playing, and his ability to turn a poetic phrase.

Now, Sunday Morning marks his fifth anniversary as anchor by presenting four new Osgood stories on consecutive Sundays throughout the month: April 4, 11, 18 and 25.

Osgood brings his own wit and wisdom to Sunday Morning each week. Serving as distinguished docent, he leads loyal viewers through the catacombs of art, music and literature, his particular passions. As CBS News' poet-in-residence, the iconoclastic anchor also delivers his own style of storytelling on the show.

See the Maestro at Work
His predecessor, the late Charles Kuralt, called Osgood "one of the last great broadcast writers."

Osgood suits up for the occasion by wearing one of his signature bow ties, although he has been known to fashion a compromise - a traditional tie with a bowtie pattern - to appease an upset viewer.

Among his musical offerings over the past five years, Osgood celebrated a White House Christmas with the Clintons in 1997, where he played carols on the piano for a group of children. He also joined a Japanese family bluegrass band in 1998, in the city of Fukuoka, playing, of all things, A Banjo on Their Knee.

In 1997, Osgood got a chance he always dreamed of to play with the Boston Pops Orchestra. Back in '94, you could find him in the venerable Oak Room in New York City with cabaret singer Weslia Whitfield.

Osgood has now been with Sunday Morning for a quarter of its history. He is "one of the most enduring--and most endearing--people in broadcasting," said columnist James Brady.

Among his other gifts, Osgood is an accomplished author and raconteur. His fifth book, See You on the Radio, a collection of his best radio stories, will be published this year.

As for music, Osgood tickles the ivories, strums a five-string banjo, fiddles with the fiddle, a little, and croons the occasional tune on the show, when prompted

Among the most recent of his many awards are a 1998 George Foster Peabody Award for Sunday Morning and a 1998 Emmy Award for his exclusive and rare interview with American realist painter Andrew Wyeth. He was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1990.

Osgood's April reports will include profiles of Felipe Alou, Dominican manager of the Montreal Expos baseball team; Dame Judi Dench, Academy Award-winning actress who will appear on Broadway in April in Amy's View; Frank Loesser, American musical theater's most celebrated composer; and Raised on Radio, a new book on the history of American radio by Gerald Nachman.

Charles Osgood will be available to answer your questions during a live chat on AOL, at keyword: live, on Monday, April 5th, at 7:30pm Eastern time. Be there!

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