CBS | Deaths

Mike Wallace Dies: VIDEO

Obit Mike Wallace.JPEG-0fa46

Mike Wallace, late of CBS's 60 Minutes, died last night at age 93. He perished in an assisted care facility near New Canaan, CT. From the New York Times:

A reporter with the presence of a performer, Mr. Wallace went head to head with chiefs of state, celebrities and con artists for more than 50 years, living for the moment when “you forget the lights, the cameras, everything else, and you’re really talking to each other,” he said in an interview with The New York Times videotaped in July 2006 ...

Mr. Wallace created enough such moments to become a paragon of television journalism in the heyday of network news. As he grilled his subjects, he said, he walked “a fine line between sadism and intellectual curiosity.”

Wallace retired from 60 Minutes in 2006, at the age of 87. He is survived by several children, the youngest of whom is Chris Wallace, the combative host of FOX News Sunday.

Thanks to Joe.My.God for unearthing the following video -- an investigation into homosexuality in America hosted by Mike Wallace and aired in 1967. Given the era in which it was produced, it's admirably open-minded: gayfolk, at least male ones, are allowed to speak their pieces freely and at length. (I was especially interested in the weird hand-wringing about the possibility of a "gay mafia" ruling pop art and fashion, which seems rather incidental to the segment's central question: Is it desirable to legislate against private sexual behavior? On this question, at least, it seems Wallace wished to alight gently on the side of history.) Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...


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  1. Fair enough, but let's credit Mr. Wallace for the 60 Minutes piece and not CBS. I'll never forget the despicable 1980 CBS News program "Gay Power, Gay Politics", described in Wikipedia thusly:

    "Although described by CBS as a report on the growing influence of the LGBT community in San Francisco politics, Gay Power, Gay Politics focused largely on the supposed sexual practices of the gay male community, especially sadomasochism. The documentary sparked outrage in the city and CBS was roundly criticized for its journalistic tactics. The National News Council, a media watchdog organization, found that CBS had violated journalistic standards through misrepresentation purposely to reinforce stereotypes and through deceptive editing.",_Gay_Politics

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Apr 8, 2012 6:29:19 PM

  2. Correction, please-- this was *not* a "60 Minutes"-associated broadcast. It was, as is shown at the beginning, one in a long series of "CBS Reports" specials from 1959 into the 1990s.

    Posted by: SteveinMaine | Apr 8, 2012 6:43:21 PM

  3. I don't find it "admirably open-minded" at all. I was 20 years old when this ran in 1967, therefar far too much of a BIG OL' GAY HOMOSEXUAL to take it seriously. But thousands did -- and suffered as a result.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 8, 2012 6:49:50 PM

  4. The "gay-is-bad" segment of this video would just be so humorous if it weren't so tragically sad. The so-called experts are so sure of their baseless theories. It's clear they were speaking out of their asses and making it all up. It's amazing to me that the scientific community of the time would just make up facts out of the very thin air. It's also amazing that Mike Wallace would repeat such "facts" as "Homosexuals are incapable of permanent relationships." They never back up where their evidence comes from.
    They sound so shocked that homosexuals would go to bars looking for sexual conquests. Of course straight people, never ever do that. This hypocrisy continues to this day. Sad.

    Posted by: Brad | Apr 8, 2012 6:59:51 PM

  5. Is it acceptable to say someone "perished" when they just passed away in their sleep? I mean, I understand "perished in a fire," but.. perished? Definitions of perished:
    1) Suffer death, typically in a violent, sudden, or untimely way.
    2) Suffer complete ruin or destruction.

    Posted by: JC | Apr 8, 2012 7:04:13 PM

  6. JC: I was going to write the same thing. If it's not an attempt at a bad joke, it must be a failed synonym grab from a thesaurus....

    Posted by: McCoysMarketNY | Apr 8, 2012 8:29:32 PM

  7. So called "experts" are still often convinced of the nonsense that they spout. Wallace was mostly a showman who liked sharing the spotlight. 60 Minutes was always an extremely poor excuse for journalism.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 8, 2012 8:53:30 PM

  8. um, "perished"?

    Posted by: gomez | Apr 9, 2012 1:07:39 AM

  9. My two year old self doesnt know whether to laugh or cry.

    Posted by: Ted | Apr 9, 2012 2:56:34 AM

  10. Also, in addition to 'perished':

    - 'Unearthed' implies something heretofore hidden or forgotten. That's a rather famous news segment, and I'm sure it's been featured on Towleroad before.

    Posted by: Nat | Apr 9, 2012 5:18:41 AM

  11. With all DUE respect, your description of the 1967 special as "open minded" is one of the STUPIDEST things I've ever read on Towleroad. LGBT activist Wayne Besen has correctly called it: "the single most destructive hour of antigay propaganda in our nation's history…It not only had a devastating effect on public opinion but also was a nuclear bomb dropped on the psyches of gay and lesbian Americans, who, prior to this show, had never been represented as a group on national television."

    Some FORTY MILLION AMERICANS heard Wallace intone in that now famous voice: “The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous. He is not interested or capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage. His sex life, his love life, consists of a series of one–chance encounters at the clubs and bars he inhabits. And even on the streets of the city—the pick-up, the one night stand, these are characteristics of the homosexual relationship. And the homosexual prostitute has become a fixture on downtown streets at night.” And rabidly homohating lunatics Irving Bieber and Charles Socarides were presented as unequivocal experts, and allowed to pour their poisonous theories into the nation’s living rooms. Most of mainstream media praised the show—“The New York Times” said, emphasis mine, it was an “INTELLIGENT discussion of a GROWING SOCIAL PROBLEM that only recently has reached the public forum.” The “Chicago Tribune” didn’t like it but only because “TV [Is] No Spot to Unload Garbage … particularly to the younger, most impressionable, most easily influenced members of the audience.” Many of those 40 million viewers are still alive today, AND passed on its lies to their children and grandchildren who didn’t see it.

    Over the years, Wallace tried to wash the blood from his hands of any personal responsibility: "I should have known better. That is—God help us—what our understanding was of the homosexual lifestyle a mere twenty-five years ago because nobody was out of the closet and because that's what we heard from doctors—that's what Socarides told us, it was a matter of shame. I should have known better. Two of my best friends at that time were homosexual, and they had been living together forever …a wonderful old married couple. But I found them—at that moment—to be the exception that proves the rule. [Then, amazingly contradicting what he’d just said, and erasing his “best friends’” existence who were obviously “out of the closet”] I simply did not know about long-lasting homosexual relationships; I was in the dark with the vast majority of Americans.”

    No, Asshat Wallace CHOSE not to see the light, both in the life of his friends and some of his interview subjects such as Jack Nichols [“Warren Adkins”] whom he told off-camera: “in your heart you know it’s wrong.” Stephanie Donald, whose working on publishing Nichols’ memoirs says that, “Jack told me before his death in 2005 that Wallace ... was a horrible homophobe and openly referred to Jack as a ‘faggot’ and a ‘fruit’ within Jack's earshot before the interview began.” And as recently as 1995, Wallace told an interviewer that he believed homosexuals could change their orientation if they really wanted to.

    He obviously never got just how much harm HE did...and that poison is still flowing through much of America's blood system....and what defines marriage equality opponents IRRATIONAL fear that somehow OUR marriages would hurt theirs or debase the concept itself than Wallace's 45-year old: "The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous. He is not interested or capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage"? He didn't actually say he was even the almost monthly throwers of "the Faggot Bomb" do in sports, etc., today. He made, as I noted, self-contradictory excuses. There are so many things he COULD have done: appear at a gay rights fundraiser....give some money to fight the Antigay Industry he helped arm with lies he eagerly deepthroating from Bieber and what could have been a BRILLIANT show—a new special contrasting the 67 horror with today's knowledge, greater acceptance, thousands of gay couples raising families, etc, etc. With his 20 Emmys and superstar status on "60 Minutes," CBS wouldn't have dared say No.

    Finally, I'm reminded of Nichol’s dear friend Frank Kameny's 2007 public condemnation (in a letter cosigned by former "Washington Post" editor-in-chief Howard Kurtz and Harry Rubinstein, Curator of the National Museum of American History), of Tom Brokaw's book about the 60s he which he discussed the black civil rights and women’s rights movements, the anti-Vietnam War movement, et al., but wrote not one word about the modern gay rights movement which exploded into being during that period. Kameny closed with: "The whole thing is deeply insulting. As I said, you have de-gayed an entire generation. For shame, for shame, for shame. You owe an abject public apology to the entire gay community. I demand it; we expect it. Gay is Good. You are not." [Cut from the same privileged straight white male cloth as Wallace, Brokaw refused to apologize, and only made excuses, too.] Frank might not have been as caustic about Wallace’s passing as I, but even without his treasured friendship with Nichols I’m confidant he wouldn’t have asserted, as so many are, "death erases all sins." Whatever good he might have done in other areas, we are still fighting Wallace’s homophobic legacy 45 years later—and that, too, must be acknowledged. Thank you.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Apr 9, 2012 4:59:38 PM

  12. That LATE 60s documentary was horrible and certainly Wallace didn't display any open minded attitude regarding gays.

    May the man R.I.P. but like many in his profession he was a 3 dollar bill.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 9, 2012 5:34:38 PM

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