Morley Safer biography
Born in Toronto, Canada in 1931, Morley Safer started his TV career with the Canadian Broadcasting Company. He joined CBS in 1964 as its London correspondent and later reported from Vietnam, stirring controversy with his unflinching view of the war. In 1970, he joined the cast of the TV newsmagazine 60 Minutes and went on to become one of the most respected journalists in television history.
Born in Toronto, Canada, in 1931, Morley Safer briefly attended the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, before landing his first newspaper job in 1951 at the Sentinel-Review, in small Woodstock, Ontario. He soon moved on to the Canadian Broadcasting Company and was a pioneer in TV war coverage, beginning with the 1956 Egypt-Israel conflict.
Career at CBS
In 1964, he joined CBS and spent two years in Vietnam. In 1965, while in Vietnam, Safer filed a report featuring footage of a U.S. Marine setting huts in a small village aflame with a cigarette lighter. This not only gave Americans a look into the previously opaque war, but it incensed both the military and President Lyndon Johnson (who attempted to have Safer censored). Another career highlight from this era was his 1967 special report "Morley Safer's Red China Diary," which was the first report broadcast from inside the Communist country by an American network. These and other stories helped Safer make a name for himself, and in 1967 he was appointed CBS’ London bureau chief, a post he held until 1970, when he joined the staff of 60 Minutes. (In 1968, Safer proposed to his future wife, Jane, by phone while covering the civil war in Nigeria.)
In a career full of notable reports and on-air moments, Safer’s 60 Minutes investigative report on Lenell Geter stands out as one of his finest. Geter was an engineer convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to life in prison. Safer’s report uncovered new evidence that led to Geter’s release, and the episode and Safer received national attention, resulting in three broadcast journalism awards for Safer. Another report, "School for the Homeless," in which he documented a controversial school attempting to provide education to many of the 1 million homeless children in America, earned him the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award First Prize for Domestic Television.
Morley Safer’s list of professional awards includes 12 Emmy Awards, three Overseas Press Club Awards, three Peabody Awards and two Alfred I. DuPont–Columbia University Awards.
In October 2011, more than 18 million 60 Minutes viewers watched Safer sit down with Ruth Madoff, wife of fallen financier Bernie Madoff, as he grilled her about what she knew about her husband’s massive Ponzi scheme. It was another coup for the veteran journalist, who enters his 43rd season on the show in the 2012–2013 season.
Morley Safer has also written a best-selling book, Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam (1990), which describes his 1989 return to Vietnam.