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Walter Cronkite: His Life And Career

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Walter Cronkite: His Life And Career

Nov. 4, 1916

Is born Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. in St. Joseph, Mo., to Walter Leland Cronkite and Helena Fritsch.


Wins journalism competition in high school and writes for and delivers The Houston Post during summer break.


Attends University of Texas at Austin while juggling jobs with Houston Press and Scripps-Howard News service.


Drops out of college to pursue journalism full time.


Works at KCMO radio Kansas City - news and sports; WKY Radio in Oklahoma City - football announcer; United Press in Austin, Kansas City and El Paso bureaus. He works briefly as public relations executive for Braniff Airways.


Becomes a war correspondent for United Press when WWII breaks out, reporting from Europe and Africa.


Marries Mary Elizabeth (Betsy) Maxwell. The couple later have three children.


Edward R. Murrow offers him a job as a CBS correspondent, but Cronkite turns it down.


UPI chief correspondent from Nuremberg Trials; UPI chief correspondent Moscow; Washington-based correspondent for Midwest radio stations.


Accepts a correspondent job from Murrow working at CBS News' Washington bureau; he catches the eye of top executives as temporary news anchor on CBS local TV station WTOP.

July 7, 1952

Becomes one of the first nationally recognized television reporters and the model for the electronic term "anchorman" while covering Republican Convention in Chicago. The conventions also mark the first nationally televised convention coverage, and CBS News provides 139 hours of it.


Briefly hosts CBS' The Morning Show and is soon replaced by Jack Paar.


Narrates and hosts many CBS television news shows such as "You Are There," "Eyewitness to History" and "The Twentieth Century." Anchors and reports for "CBS Reports."


CBS is the first network to broadcast the Olympics - 13 hours of the Winter Games from Squaw Valley, Calif. Walter Cronkite is anchor.

April 16, 1962

Named anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, taking over the position from Douglas Edwards. The program expands from 15 to 30 minutes on Sept. 2, 1963, making Cronkite the anchor of American network television's first nightly half-hour news program.

Nov. 20, 1963

Is the first to report President Kennedy's death and remains on the air for much of the network's four days of coverage.

Aug. 19, 1965

The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite becomes the first regularly scheduled evening half-hour network news program broadcast in color.

April 9-17, 1967

The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite becomes the first network news program to be seen via satellite. The broadcast originates from Paris, where the Vietnam peace talks are taking place.


Anchors coverage of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy; Tours Vietnam during Tet and returns to deliver his candid assessment that America is losing the war.


Reports on the Apollo moon landing. As the rocket lands on the lunar surface at 4:19 p.m., EDT, Cronkite, known for his eloquence, famously exclaims, "Man on the moon!" "Oh, boy!" and then, "Whew, boy!" Remains on the air for 24 of the network's 27 hours of Apollo XI lunar walk special in 1969.


CBS Evening News overtakes NBC in evening news ratings, beginning a decade-long dominance with Cronkite in the chair.


Publishes his first book, "Eye on the World," an edited compendium of CBS News' reporting on the major trends and stories of 1970, for which he provided analysis and commentary.


Named the "most trusted" public figure in the country by Americans in a public opinion poll.


His interview with Egyptian President Sadat leads to a Sadat visit to Israel and a peace treaty between the countries 10 months later.

March 6, 1981

Steps down to allow Dan Rather to take his place. Becomes a special correspondent and hosts several acclaimed CBS documentary programs during the 1980s.


Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter.


Inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.


Begins hosting PBS New Year's Eve Vienna Philharmonic show. Arizona State University names its journalism school after him.


"Walter Cronkite's 20th Century," a 90-second radio segment for CBS Radio, ends after five years - Cronkite's last CBS News role.


Co-founds The Cronkite Ward Company, which goes on to produce award-winning documentaries for The Discovery Channel, PBS and other networks.


His memoirs, "Cronkite Remembers," are broadcast as a two-hour CBS special in May and then as an eight-hour series on The Discovery Channel. Cronkite's autobiography, "A Reporter's Life," is also published.

July 15, 2000

Celebrates the 50th anniversary of his first broadcast from the CBS News anchor chair.


Betsy, his wife of almost 65 years, dies.


Becomes the first non-astronaut to receive NASA's Ambassador of Exploration Award. Voices the introduction to the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Celebrates his 90th birthday.

July 17, 2009

Cronkite dies at his home in New York after a long illness with his family by his side. He was 92.

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