Walter Cronkite - Broadcaster, Family and Family

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Walter Cronkite's Personal Details

Walter Cronkite was one of America’s most trusted broadcast journalists, best known for anchoring the ‘CBS Evening News.’ Explore more about his childhood, family, personal life, etc.

InformationDetail
BirthdayNovember 4, 1916
Died onJuly 17, 2009
NationalityAmerican
FamousBroadcaster, University Of Texas, Media Personalities, Journalists, TV Presenters
City/StateMissouri
Nick namesOld Ironpants, Uncle Walter, King of the anchormen
SpousesMary Elizabeth, Mary Elizabeth
Known asWalter Leland Cronkite Jr
Childrens Kathy Cronkite
Universities
  • University Of Texas
  • University of Texas at Austin
Notable Alumnis
  • University Of Texas
Birth PlaceSaint Joseph
ReligionEpiscopal Church
Height182cm
GenderMale
FatherWalter Leland Cronkite
MotherHelen Lena Cronkite
Sun SignScorpio
Born inSaint Joseph
Famous asBroadcaster
Died at Age92

// Famous Broadcaster

Walter Cronkite's photo

Who is Walter Cronkite?

Walter Cronkite was one of America’s most trusted broadcast journalists, best known for anchoring the ‘CBS Evening News’ from the 1960s to the early 1980s. He gave up his college education to take up a full-time career in newspaper reporting and gained entry into the broadcasting industry as an announcer for ‘WKY’ radio station in Oklahoma. He gained recognition with his broadcast name “Walter Wilcox” and established himself as one of American’s best war reporters during World War II. He joined ‘CBS News’ as the anchor of the Sunday evening news program called ‘Up To the Minute’ and covered most of the important political activities in the US through the 1960s and the 1970s. His coverage of the ‘Apollo’ moon missions with co-host and former astronaut Wally Schirra made ‘CBS’ one of the most-watched channels and made him the first non-astronaut to receive ‘NASA’s ‘Ambassador of Exploration Award.’ Even after his retirement, he continued to appear on ‘CBS,’ ‘CNN,’ and ‘NPR’ as a guest. He covered important events and contributed to some of the most informative historical documentaries on world events. He was married to Mary Elizabeth Maxwell, who passed away before he died at the age of 92.

// Famous Alumni of University Of Texas

Childhood & Early Life

Walter Leland Cronkite was born on November 4, 1916, in St. Joseph, Missouri, US, to Helen Lena and Dr. Walter Leland Cronkite. He was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, till the age of 10, after which he moved with his family to Houston, Texas.

He started his education at the ‘Woodrow Wilson Elementary School’ and later joined the ‘Lanier Junior High School.’ He then went on to graduate from the ‘San Jacinto High School’ and joined the ‘University of Texas at Austin.’

During his high-school days, he was part of the ‘Boy Scouts’ and was the editor of the high-school newspaper. In college, he worked with the ‘Daily Texan’ and was a member of the Nu chapter of the ‘Chi Phi Fraternity.’ In his quest for journalism, he also became a member of the Houston chapter of ‘DeMolay.’

Walter quit college in 1935, before completing his degree, to take up a full-time career in newspaper reporting. Within a year, he gained entry into the broadcasting industry as an announcer for ‘WKY’ radio station in Oklahoma.

Career

Cronkite soon gained recognition as “Walter Wilcox,” which was his broadcast name. He became a member of the ‘United Press’ in 1937 and established himself as one of the best American war reporters during World War II, covering wars in North Africa and Europe.

He received an offer from ‘CBS News,’ to join the ‘Murrow Boys’ team that covered the war and to take over the Moscow bureau. However, he declined the offer and decided to continue with the ‘United Press.’

He was one of the first war correspondents to report on the Anglo–American campaign against the French, during ‘Operation Torch’ in North Africa. He flew in a ‘United States Army Air Forces’ bomber over Germany and even operated the machine gun of the aircraft in combat.

He covered the ‘Nuremberg’ trials after the war and was the main reporter of the ‘United Press’ in Moscow, from 1946 to 1948.

Cronkite joined ‘CBS News’ in 1950, to become the anchor of the Sunday evening news program called ‘Up To the Minute’ and covered the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections with his program titled ‘Pick the Winner.’

He hosted the ‘CBS’ historical documentaries and serials titled ‘You Are There,’ ‘The Twentieth Century,’ and ‘It’s News to Me,’ which were quite popular in the 1960s.

Cronkite was the main broadcaster for the 1960 ‘Winter Olympics’ coverage by ‘CBS,’ which was the first time such an event was telecast live in the US.

He became an icon of evening news when he took over the ‘CBS Evening News’ broadcast from Douglas Edwards, in April 1962. In September 1963, the show was expanded to 30 minutes and became the first nightly half-hour news program in American broadcasting history.

He gained a reputation for accurate and timely reporting and was praised for his coverage of the assassination of President John F Kennedy in November 1963. This was instrumental in pushing the rating of ‘CBS’ above that of its rival, ‘NBC.’

In 1968, he went to Vietnam to report on the aftermath of the ‘Tet Offensive.’ On his return from the trip, he wrote articles that portrayed the truth about the war and the hopeless situation of the Americans who were dealing with guerrilla warfare.

His coverage of the ‘Apollo’ missions to the moon, with co-host and former astronaut Wally Schirra, made ‘CBS’ the most-watched channel during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was followed by his coverage of the ‘Watergate’ scandal, which led to the resignation of President Richard M Nixon in August 1974, and the Iran hostage crisis, in January 1980, which grabbed the world’s attention.

Walter Cronkite ultimately retired from broadcast journalism in March 1981, with his final bulletin of ‘CBS Evening News,’ that was succeeded by Dan Rather.

Even after his retirement, he continued to appear on ‘CBS,’ ‘CNN,’ and ‘NPR’ as a guest. His interview with Margaret Thatcher after her victory in 1983 was viewed widely.

His 1998 documentary, ‘Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance,’ produced by the ‘Santa Clara Valley Historical Association,’ was highly acclaimed. His participation in the panel discussion on ‘Integrity in the Media’ at the ‘Connecticut Forum’ in Hartford, Connecticut, in May 1999, was also appreciated.

Major Works

His major contributions have been as a reporter for the ‘United Press’ and ‘CBS.’

In 1996, he published his book, ‘A Reporter’s Life,’ which narrated his experiences as a reporter during World War II and the period that followed.

Awards & Achievements

In 1968, he received the ‘Carr Van Anda Award’ for enduring contribution to journalism. This was followed by the ‘Freedom of the Press George Polk Award’ and the ‘Paul White Award’ in 1970.

He received the ‘James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service’ in 1972 and the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ from Jimmy Carter in 1981.

He also received a lifetime achievement award from the ‘Radio Television Digital News Association’ in 1985 and the ‘Ischia International Journalism Award’ in 1999.

He was elected as a ‘Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ in 2003 and became the first non-astronaut to receive ‘NASA’s ‘Ambassador of Exploration Award’ in 2006.

Personal Life

He met Mary Elizabeth “Betsy” Maxwell in 1936, while working as a sports announcer for ‘KCMO (AM)’ radio station in Kansas City, Missouri, and got married to her in March 1940. They had three children: Nancy, Mary Kathleen, and Walter Leland Cronkite III.

He loved sailing and owned a custom-made boat with which he often sailed in the coastal waters of the US.

His wife died of cancer in March 2005. Following this, he dated singer Joanna Simon, till his death. He died at the age of 92, due to cerebrovascular disease, in July 2009, at his home in New York City.

Trivia

Walter Cronkite interacted with a lion puppet named ‘Charlemane’ on his program ‘The Morning Show’ on ‘CBS,’ as he felt that through a puppet, he would be able to discuss issues that a human being would hesitate to discuss otherwise.

He has lent his voice to many commercials and has made cameo appearances in a number of TV serials.

// Famous Media Personalities

Walter Cronkite awards

YearNameAward

Other

George Polk Award
Library of Congress Living Legend
Ischia International Journalism Award
Nierenberg Prize
Peabody Award
Peabody Award
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Großes Silbernes Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich
Four Freedoms Award - Freedom of Speech

Walter Cronkite biography timelines

  • // 4th Nov 1916
    Walter Leland Cronkite was born on November 4, 1916, in St. Joseph, Missouri, US, to Helen Lena and Dr. Walter Leland Cronkite. He was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, till the age of 10, after which he moved with his family to Houston, Texas.
  • // 1936
    He met Mary Elizabeth “Betsy” Maxwell in 1936, while working as a sports announcer for ‘KCMO (AM)’ radio station in Kansas City, Missouri, and got married to her in March 1940. They had three children: Nancy, Mary Kathleen, and Walter Leland Cronkite III.
  • // 1950
    Cronkite joined ‘CBS News’ in 1950, to become the anchor of the Sunday evening news program called ‘Up To the Minute’ and covered the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections with his program titled ‘Pick the Winner.’
  • // 1963
    He became an icon of evening news when he took over the ‘CBS Evening News’ broadcast from Douglas Edwards, in April 1962. In September 1963, the show was expanded to 30 minutes and became the first nightly half-hour news program in American broadcasting history.
  • // 1968
    In 1968, he went to Vietnam to report on the aftermath of the ‘Tet Offensive.’ On his return from the trip, he wrote articles that portrayed the truth about the war and the hopeless situation of the Americans who were dealing with guerrilla warfare.
  • // 1968
    In 1968, he received the ‘Carr Van Anda Award’ for enduring contribution to journalism. This was followed by the ‘Freedom of the Press George Polk Award’ and the ‘Paul White Award’ in 1970.
  • // 1996
    In 1996, he published his book, ‘A Reporter’s Life,’ which narrated his experiences as a reporter during World War II and the period that followed.
  • // 1998
    His 1998 documentary, ‘Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance,’ produced by the ‘Santa Clara Valley Historical Association,’ was highly acclaimed. His participation in the panel discussion on ‘Integrity in the Media’ at the ‘Connecticut Forum’ in Hartford, Connecticut, in May 1999, was also appreciated.
  • // 2003
    He was elected as a ‘Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ in 2003 and became the first non-astronaut to receive ‘NASA’s ‘Ambassador of Exploration Award’ in 2006.
  • // 2009
    His wife died of cancer in March 2005. Following this, he dated singer Joanna Simon, till his death. He died at the age of 92, due to cerebrovascular disease, in July 2009, at his home in New York City.

// Famous TV Presenters

Walter Cronkite's FAQ

  • What is Walter Cronkite birthday?

    Walter Cronkite was born at 1916-11-04

  • When was Walter Cronkite died?

    Walter Cronkite was died at 2009-07-17

  • Where was Walter Cronkite died?

    Walter Cronkite was died in New York City

  • Which age was Walter Cronkite died?

    Walter Cronkite was died at age 92

  • Where is Walter Cronkite's birth place?

    Walter Cronkite was born in Saint Joseph

  • What is Walter Cronkite nationalities?

    Walter Cronkite's nationalities is American

  • What is Walter Cronkite nick names?

    Walter Cronkite's nickNames is Old Ironpants, Uncle Walter, King of the anchormen

  • Who is Walter Cronkite spouses?

    Walter Cronkite's spouses is Mary Elizabeth, Mary Elizabeth

  • Who is Walter Cronkite childrens?

    Walter Cronkite's childrens is Kathy Cronkite

  • What was Walter Cronkite universities?

    Walter Cronkite studied at University Of Texas, University of Texas at Austin

  • What was Walter Cronkite notable alumnis?

    Walter Cronkite's notable alumnis is University Of Texas

  • What is Walter Cronkite's religion?

    Walter Cronkite's religion is Episcopal Church

  • How tall is Walter Cronkite?

    Walter Cronkite's height is 182

  • Who is Walter Cronkite's father?

    Walter Cronkite's father is Walter Leland Cronkite

  • Who is Walter Cronkite's mother?

    Walter Cronkite's mother is Helen Lena Cronkite

  • What is Walter Cronkite's sun sign?

    Walter Cronkite is Scorpio

  • How famous is Walter Cronkite?

    Walter Cronkite is famouse as Broadcaster