|Name:||Edward R. Murrow|
|Birth Day:||April 25, 1908|
|Death Date:||Apr 27, 1965 (age 57)|
As per our current Database, Edward R. Murrow died on Apr 27, 1965 (age 57).
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In high school, he was on both the debate and basketball teams.
After graduation from high school in 1926, Murrow enrolled at Washington State College (now Washington State University) across the state in Pullman, and eventually majored in speech. A member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, he was also active in college politics. By his teen years, Murrow went by the nickname "Ed" and during his second year of college, he changed his name from Egbert to Edward. In 1929, while attending the annual convention of the National Student Federation of America, Murrow gave a speech urging college students to become more interested in national and world affairs; this led to his election as president of the federation. After earning his bachelor's degree in 1930, he moved back east to New York.
Murrow was assistant director of the Institute of International Education from 1932 to 1935 and served as assistant secretary of the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, which helped prominent German scholars who had been dismissed from academic positions. He married Janet Huntington Brewster on March 12, 1935. Their son, Charles Casey Murrow, was born in the west of London on November 6, 1945.
Murrow joined CBS as director of talks and education in 1935 and remained with the network for his entire career. CBS did not have news staff when Murrow joined, save for announcer Bob Trout. Murrow's job was to line up newsmakers who would appear on the network to talk about the issues of the day. But the onetime Washington State speech major was intrigued by Trout's on-air delivery, and Trout gave Murrow tips on how to communicate effectively on radio.
Murrow went to London in 1937 to serve as the director of CBS's European operations. The position did not involve on-air reporting; his job was persuading European figures to broadcast over the CBS network, which was in direct competition with NBC's two radio networks. During this time, he made frequent trips around Europe. In 1937, Murrow hired journalist William L. Shirer, and assigned him to a similar post on the continent. This marked the beginning of the "Murrow Boys" team of war reporters.
At the request of CBS management in New York, Murrow and Shirer put together a European News Roundup of reaction to the Anschluss, which brought correspondents from various European cities together for a single broadcast. On March 13, 1938, the special was broadcast, hosted by Bob Trout in New York, including Shirer in London (with Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson), reporter Edgar Ansel Mowrer of the Chicago Daily News in Paris, reporter Pierre J. Huss of the International News Service in Berlin, and Senator Lewis B. Schwellenbach in Washington, D.C. Reporter Frank Gervasi, in Rome, was unable to find a transmitter to broadcast reaction from the Italian capital but phoned his script to Shirer in London, who read it on the air. Murrow reported live from Vienna, in the first on-the-scene news report of his career: "This is Edward Murrow speaking from Vienna.... It's now nearly 2:30 in the morning, and Herr Hitler has not yet arrived."
In September 1938, Murrow and Shirer were regular participants in CBS's coverage of the crisis over the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, which Hitler coveted for Germany and eventually won in the Munich Agreement. Their incisive reporting heightened the American appetite for radio news, with listeners regularly waiting for Murrow's shortwave broadcasts, introduced by analyst H. V. Kaltenborn in New York saying, "Calling Ed Murrow ... come in Ed Murrow."
During the following year, leading up to the outbreak of World War II, Murrow continued to be based in London. William Shirer's reporting from Berlin brought him national acclaim and a commentator's position with CBS News upon his return to the United States in December 1940. Shirer would describe his Berlin experiences in his best-selling 1941 book Berlin Diary. When the war broke out in September 1939, Murrow stayed in London, and later provided live radio broadcasts during the height of the Blitz in London After Dark. These live, shortwave broadcasts relayed on CBS electrified radio audiences as news programming never had: previous war coverage had mostly been provided by newspaper reports, along with newsreels seen in movie theaters; earlier radio news programs had simply featured an announcer in a studio reading wire service reports.
When Murrow returned to the U.S. in 1941, CBS hosted a dinner in his honor on December 2 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. 1,100 guests attended the dinner, which the network broadcast. Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a welcome-back telegram, which was read at the dinner, and Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish gave an encomium that commented on the power and intimacy of Murrow's wartime dispatches. "You burned the city of London in our houses and we felt the flames that burned it," MacLeish said. "You laid the dead of London at our doors and we knew that the dead were our dead, were mankind's dead. You have destroyed the superstition that what is done beyond 3,000 miles of water is not really done at all."
Murrow so closely cooperated with the British that in 1943 Winston Churchill offered to make him joint director-general of the BBC in charge of programming. Although he declined the job, during the war Murrow did fall in love with Churchill's daughter-in-law, Pamela, whose other American lovers included Averell Harriman, whom she married many years later. Pamela wanted Murrow to marry her, and he considered it; however, after his wife gave birth to their only child, Casey, he ended the affair.
As hostilities expanded, Murrow expanded CBS News in London into what Harrison Salisbury described as "the finest news staff anybody had ever put together in Europe". The result was a group of reporters acclaimed for their intellect and descriptive power, including Eric Sevareid, Charles Collingwood, Howard K. Smith, Mary Marvin Breckinridge, Cecil Brown, Richard C. Hottelet, Bill Downs, Winston Burdett, Charles Shaw, Ned Calmer, and Larry LeSueur. Many of them, Shirer included, were later dubbed "Murrow's Boys"—despite Breckinridge being a woman. In 1944, Murrow sought Walter Cronkite to take over for Bill Downs at the CBS Moscow bureau. Cronkite initially accepted, but after receiving a better offer from his current employer, United Press, he turned down the offer.
On April 12, 1945, Murrow and Bill Shadel were the first reporters at the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. He met emaciated survivors including Petr Zenkl, children with identification tattoos, and "bodies stacked up like cordwood" in the crematorium. In his report three days later, Murrow said:
In December 1945 Murrow reluctantly accepted William S. Paley's offer to become a vice president of the network and head of CBS News, and made his last news report from London in March 1946. His presence and personality shaped the newsroom. After the war, he maintained close friendships with his previous hires, including members of the Murrow Boys. Younger colleagues at CBS became resentful toward this, viewing it as preferential treatment, and formed the "Murrow Isn't God Club." The club disbanded when Murrow asked if he could join.
During Murrow's tenure as vice president, his relationship with Shirer ended in 1947 in one of the great confrontations of American broadcast journalism, when Shirer was fired by CBS. He said he resigned in the heat of an interview at the time, but was actually terminated. The dispute began when J. B. Williams, maker of shaving soap, withdrew its sponsorship of Shirer's Sunday news show. CBS, of which Murrow was then vice president for public affairs, decided to "move in a new direction," hired a new host, and let Shirer go. There are different versions of these events; Shirer's was not made public until 1990.
Murrow returned to the air in September 1947, taking over the nightly 7:45 p.m. ET newscast sponsored by Campbell's Soup and anchored by his old friend and announcing coach Bob Trout. For the next several years Murrow focused on radio, and in addition to news reports he produced special presentations for CBS News Radio. In 1950, he narrated a half-hour radio documentary called "The Case of the Flying Saucer." It offered a balanced look at UFOs, a subject of widespread interest at the time. Murrow interviewed both Kenneth Arnold and astronomer Donald Menzel.
Another contributing element to Murrow's career decline was the rise of a new crop of television journalists. Walter Cronkite's arrival at CBS in 1950 marked the beginning of a major rivalry which continued until Murrow resigned from the network in 1961. Murrow held a grudge dating back to 1944, when Cronkite turned down his offer to head the CBS Moscow bureau. With the Murrow Boys dominating the newsroom, Cronkite felt like an outsider soon after joining the network. Over time, as Murrow's career seemed on the decline and Cronkite's on the rise, the two found it increasingly difficult to work together. Cronkite's demeanor was similar to reporters Murrow had hired; the difference being that Murrow viewed the Murrow Boys as satellites rather than potential rivals, as Cronkite seemed to be.
From 1951 to 1955, Murrow was the host of This I Believe, which offered ordinary people the opportunity to speak for five minutes on radio. He continued to present daily radio news reports on the CBS Radio Network until 1959. He also recorded a series of narrated "historical albums" for Columbia Records called I Can Hear It Now, which inaugurated his partnership with producer Fred W. Friendly. In 1950 the records evolved into a weekly CBS Radio show, Hear It Now, hosted by Murrow and co-produced by Murrow and Friendly.
On November 18, 1951, Hear It Now moved to television and was re-christened See It Now. In the first episode, Murrow explained: "This is an old team, trying to learn a new trade."
In 1952, Murrow narrated the political documentary Alliance for Peace, an information vehicle for the newly formed SHAPE detailing the effects of the Marshall Plan upon a war-torn Europe. It was written by William Templeton and produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr.
In 1953, Murrow launched a second weekly TV show, a series of celebrity interviews entitled Person to Person.
On June 15, 1953, Murrow hosted The Ford 50th Anniversary Show, broadcast simultaneously on NBC and CBS and seen by 60 million viewers. The broadcast closed with Murrow's commentary covering a variety of topics, including the danger of nuclear war against the backdrop of a mushroom cloud. Murrow also offered indirect criticism of McCarthyism, saying: "Nations have lost their freedom while preparing to defend it, and if we in this country confuse dissent with disloyalty, we deny the right to be wrong." Forty years after the broadcast, television critic Tom Shales recalled the broadcast as both "a landmark in television" and "a milestone in the cultural life of the '50s".
On March 9, 1954, Murrow, Friendly, and their news team produced a half-hour See It Now special titled "A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy". Murrow had considered making such a broadcast since See It Now debuted and was encouraged to by multiple colleagues including Bill Downs. However, Friendly wanted to wait for the right time to do so. Murrow used excerpts from McCarthy's own speeches and proclamations to criticize the senator and point out episodes where he had contradicted himself. Murrow and Friendly paid for their own newspaper advertisement for the program; they were not allowed to use CBS's money for the publicity campaign or even use the CBS logo.
Murrow offered McCarthy the chance to respond to the criticism with a full half-hour on See It Now. McCarthy accepted the invitation and appeared on April 6, 1954. In his response, McCarthy rejected Murrow's criticism and accused him of being a communist sympathizer [McCarthy also accused Murrow of being a member of the Industrial Workers of the World which Murrow denied.]. McCarthy also made an appeal to the public by attacking his detractors, stating:
See It Now was knocked out of its weekly slot in 1955 after sponsor Alcoa withdrew its advertising, but the show remained as a series of occasional TV special news reports that defined television documentary news coverage. Despite the show's prestige, CBS had difficulty finding a regular sponsor, since it aired intermittently in its new time slot (Sunday afternoons at 5 p.m. ET by the end of 1956) and could not develop a regular audience.
In 1956, Murrow took time to appear as the on-screen narrator of a special prologue for Michael Todd's epic production, Around the World in 80 Days. Although the prologue was generally omitted on telecasts of the film, it was included in home video releases.
Beginning in 1958, Murrow hosted a talk show entitled Small World that brought together political figures for one-to-one debates. In January 1959, he appeared on WGBH's The Press and the People with Louis Lyons, discussing the responsibilities of television journalism.
See It Now's final broadcast, "Watch on the Ruhr" (covering postwar Germany), aired July 7, 1958. Three months later, on October 15, 1958, in a speech before the Radio and Television News Directors Association in Chicago, Murrow blasted TV's emphasis on entertainment and commercialism at the expense of public interest in his "wires and lights" speech:
Murrow appeared as himself in a cameo in the British film production of Sink the Bismarck! in 1960, recreating some of the wartime broadcasts he did from London for CBS.
Murrow's last major TV milestone was reporting and narrating the CBS Reports installment "Harvest of Shame," a report on the plight of migrant farmworkers in the United States. Directed by Friendly and produced by David Lowe, it ran in November 1960, just after Thanksgiving.
Murrow resigned from CBS to accept a position as head of the United States Information Agency, parent of the Voice of America, in January 1961. President John F. Kennedy offered Murrow the position, which he viewed as "a timely gift." CBS president Frank Stanton had reportedly been offered the job but declined, suggesting that Murrow be offered the job.
On September 16, 1962, he introduced educational television to New York City via the maiden broadcast of WNDT, which became WNET.
His appointment as head of the United States Information Agency was seen as a vote of confidence in the agency, which provided the official views of the government to the public in other nations. The USIA had been under fire during the McCarthy era, and Murrow reappointed at least one of McCarthy's targets, Reed Harris. Murrow insisted on a high level of presidential access, telling Kennedy, "If you want me in on the landings, I'd better be there for the takeoffs." However, the early effects of cancer kept him from taking an active role in the Bay of Pigs Invasion planning. He did advise the president during the Cuban Missile Crisis but was ill at the time the president was assassinated. Murrow was drawn into Vietnam because the USIA was assigned to convince reporters in Saigon that the government of Ngo Dinh Diem embodied the hopes and dreams of the Vietnamese people. Murrow knew the Diem government did no such thing. Asked to stay on by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Murrow did so but resigned in early 1964, citing illness. Before his departure, his last recommendation was of Barry Zorthian to be chief spokesman for the U.S. government in Saigon, Vietnam.
Murrow died at his home in Pawling, New York on April 27, 1965, two days after his 57th birthday. His colleague and friend Eric Sevareid said of him, "He was a shooting star; and we will live in his afterglow a very long time." CBS carried a memorial program, which included a rare on-camera appearance by William S. Paley, founder of CBS.
In 1971 the RTNDA (Now Radio Television Digital News Association) established the Edward R. Murrow Awards, honoring outstanding achievement in the field of electronic journalism. There are four other awards also known as the "Edward R. Murrow Award," including the one at Washington State University.
In 1973, Murrow's alma mater, Washington State University, dedicated its expanded communication facilities the Edward R. Murrow Communications Center and established the annual Edward R. Murrow Symposium. In 1990, the WSU Department of Communications became the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, followed on July 1, 2008, with the school becoming the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. Veteran international journalist Lawrence Pintak is the college's founding dean.
Several movies were filmed, either completely or partly about Murrow. In 1986, HBO broadcast the made-for-cable biographical movie, Murrow, with Daniel J. Travanti in the title role, and Robert Vaughn in a supporting role. In the 1999 film The Insider, Lowell Bergman, a television producer for the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes, played by Al Pacino, is confronted by Mike Wallace, played by Christopher Plummer, after an exposé of the tobacco industry is edited down to suit CBS management and then, itself, gets exposed in the press for the self-censorship. Wallace passes Bergman an editorial printed in The New York Times, which accuses CBS of betraying the legacy of Edward R. Murrow. Good Night, and Good Luck is a 2005 Oscar-nominated film directed, co-starring and co-written by George Clooney about the conflict between Murrow and Joseph McCarthy on See It Now. Murrow is portrayed by actor David Strathairn, who received an Oscar nomination. In the film, Murrow's conflict with CBS boss William Paley occurs immediately after his skirmish with McCarthy.
The center awards Murrow fellowships to mid-career professionals who engage in research at Fletcher, ranging from the impact of the "new world information order" debate in the international media during the 1970s and 1980s to, currently, telecommunications policies and regulation. Many distinguished journalists, diplomats, and policymakers have spent time at the center, among them the late David Halberstam, who worked on his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Best and the Brightest, as a writer-in-residence in the early 1970s. Veteran journalist Crocker Snow Jr. was named director of the Murrow Center in 2005.
Currently, Edward R. Murrow is 113 years, 5 months and 27 days old. Edward R. Murrow will celebrate 114th birthday on a Monday 25th of April 2022.
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