Cronkite Remembered as 'an Icon'

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Former CBS News anchor and iconic journalist Walter Cronkite, who became the "most trusted man in America," has died at age 92.

Cronkite died Friday night surrounded by family at his Manhattan home after a long illness, CBS vice president Linda Mason said. His family issued a statement weeks ago that he had been suffering with cerebrovascular disease and was not expected to recover.

Cronkite's death continues to elicit tributes from colleagues and Americans in all walks of life, all honoring the anchorman.

"Walter Cronkite was one of the closest friends I had in journalism. He was an icon," said evangelist Billy Graham.

"I doubt if anybody will replace him in the hearts and minds of Americans. I respected his views on so many subjects," Graham said.

The Reporter's 'Gold Standard'

Cronkite was the face of the "CBS Evening News" from 1962 to 1981. He reported on stories that ranged from the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to racial and anti-war riots, Watergate and the Iranian hostage crisis.

"Walter was who I wanted to be when I grew up," said CBS's "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer, 72, who began working at CBS News in 1969.

"He set a standard for all of us. He made television news what it became."

President Barack Obama echoed the sentiments.

"He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down," Obama said. "This country has lost an icon and a dear friend, and he will be truly missed."

CBS has scheduled a prime-time special, "That's the Way it Was: Remembering Walter Cronkite," for 7 p.m. Sunday, July 19.

Cronkite would sum up the news each evening by stating, "And that's the way it is." Polls in 1972 and 1974 pronounced Cronkite the "most trusted man in America."

Cronkite won numerous Emmys and other awards for excellence in news coverage. But he condemned television practices that put entertainment values ahead of news judgment.

"Broadcast journalism is never going to substitute for print," he said. "We cannot cover in depth in a half hour many of the stories required to get a good understanding of the world."

His Life and Career

Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. was born Nov. 4, 1916, in St. Joseph, Mo., the son and grandson of dentists. The family moved to Houston when he was 10.

He started in journalism at The Houston Post, where he worked summers after high school and served as campus correspondent at the University of Texas. He also did some sports announcing at a local radio station.

Cronkite quit school after his junior year for a full-time job with the Houston Press. He joined United Press in 1937, after working briefly at KCMO in Kansas City, Mo.,

He was dispatched to London early in World War II and covered the battle of the North Atlantic. He was a chief correspondent at the postwar Nuremberg trials and spent his final two years with the news service managing its Moscow bureau.

The well-seasoned journalist returned to the United States in 1948 and covered Washington for a group of Midwest radio stations. He accepted Edward R. Murrow's invitation to join CBS in 1950.

In 1940, Cronkite married Mary Elizabeth "Betsy" Maxwell, whom he met when they both worked at KCMO.

They had three children, Nancy, Mary Kathleen, and Walter Leland III. Betsy Cronkite died in 2005.

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