His distinctive style and the broad range of his much-honored work have made Morley Safer a giant in broadcast journalism and a mainstay of 60 MINUTES since he joined in December 1970. The 2014-2015 season marks his 45th on the program.
Safer's unique reports have intrigued viewers for decades with 60 Minutes classics like “The French Paradox” that explored the health benefits of red wine, “Yes, But is it Art,” the report that enraged the contemporary art world, and his much-talked about profile of Vogue editor Anna Wintour. More recently, he covered the rising use of flying drones and reported on one of the largest caches of valuable art found since World War II. In 2011, 18.5 million watched him ask Ruth Madoff on 60 Minutes what she knew about her husband Bernard's Ponzi scheme. His report on Vincent Van Gogh provided a new theory about the artist's death.
Safer's body of work spanning six decades was acknowledged with the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award from Quinnipiac College and special recognition from the Canadian Journalism Foundation. He has also received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards First Prize for Domestic Television for his insightful report about a controversial school, “School for the Homeless.” Safer's news-making reports and interviews have been honored with numerous other awards, including 12 Emmys, three Overseas Press Club Awards, three Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, two George Polk Memorial Awards and the Radio/Television News Directors Association's highest honor, the Paul White Award. In 1995, he was named a Chévalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.
When citing 60 MINUTES' finest hour, its original executive producer, Don Hewitt, often pointed to Safer's investigative report on Lenell Geter. Safer reported on new evidence that resulted in the release from prison of Geter, an engineer wrongly convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to a life term in Texas. The report received national attention and was honored with three prestigious broadcast journalism awards. One of journalism's finest hours was Safer's 1965 piece from Vietnam in which he reported on U.S. Marines burning the village of Cam Ne. This pivotal report on the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite,” cited by New York University as one of the 20th century's best pieces of American journalism, was one of the realistic reports that helped change America's view of the war and changed war reporting forever.
As a CBS News correspondent, Safer has written and been the principal reporter on documentaries, including the “CBS Reports” series and CBS News special reports. A 1967 special report, “Morley Safer's Red China Diary,” was the first broadcast by a U.S. network news team from inside the Communist country. In May 1994, he hosted “One for the Road: A Conversation with Charles Kuralt and Morley Safer,” a CBS News special marking colleague Charles Kuralt's retirement.
Safer joined CBS News in April 1964 as a correspondent based in the London bureau. He opened CBS News' Saigon bureau in 1965, served two tours in Vietnam and received several major broadcasting honors for his reporting. In 1967, he was named London bureau chief, a position he held for three years. In that post, he covered Europe, Africa and the Middle East. As London bureau chief, Safer returned to Vietnam to cover the war. In December 1970, he left London to join 60 Minutes in New York.
Prior to joining CBS News, Safer was a correspondent and producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for which he covered major stories in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, including the war for Algerian Independence. He was the only Western correspondent in East Berlin the night the Communists began building the Berlin Wall in August 1961. He began his career as a reporter for a variety of newspapers and wire services in Canada and England.
Safer is the author of the bestseller Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam (Random House, 1990).
He was born Nov. 8, 1931, in Toronto. He and his wife, the former Jane Fearer, live in New York. They have a daughter, Sarah.