Morley Safer

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Morley Safer
Born(1931-11-08) November 8, 1931 (age 80)
Toronto, Ontario
NationalityCanadian
Alma materUniversity of Western Ontario
OccupationNews reporter
Years active1964–present
ReligionJudaism
Spouse(s)Jane Fearer
ChildrenSarah Alice Anne Safer
 
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Morley Safer
Born(1931-11-08) November 8, 1931 (age 80)
Toronto, Ontario
NationalityCanadian
Alma materUniversity of Western Ontario
OccupationNews reporter
Years active1964–present
ReligionJudaism
Spouse(s)Jane Fearer
ChildrenSarah Alice Anne Safer

Morley Safer (born November 8, 1931) is a Canadian reporter and correspondent for CBS News. He is best known for his long tenure on the newsmagazine 60 Minutes, the cast of which he joined in December 1970, during the third season of the series.

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Biography

Safer was born to an Austrian Jewish family in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Anna (née Cohn) and Max Safer, an upholsterer.[1] He attended Harbord Collegiate Institute,[2] and briefly attended University of Western Ontario.[3]

Safer began his journalism career as a reporter for various newspapers in Canada (Woodstock Sentinel Review, London Free Press and Toronto Telegram) and England (Reuters and Oxford Mail). Later, he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a correspondent and producer.

In 1964, Safer joined CBS News as a London-based correspondent. In 1965, he opened the CBS News bureau in Saigon. That year he followed a group of United States Marines to the village of Cam Ne, for what was described as a "search and destroy" mission. When the Marines arrived, they gave orders in English to the inhabitants—by all accounts harmless civilians—to evacuate the village. When the homes were cleared, the Marines burned their thatched roofs with flamethrowers and Zippo lighters. Safer's report on this event was broadcast on CBS News on August 5, 1965, and was among the first reports to paint a bleak picture of the Vietnam War. President Lyndon Baines Johnson reacted to this report angrily, calling CBS's president and accusing Safer and his colleagues of having "shat on the American flag." Certain that Safer was a communist, Johnson also ordered a security check; upon being told that Safer "wasn't a communist, just a Canadian," he responded "Well, I knew he wasn't an American."[4]

In 1967, Safer was named the London bureau chief, a post he held for three years. In 1970, he left London to replace Harry Reasoner on 60 Minutes, after Reasoner left to anchor the ABC Evening News (although Reasoner would return to 60 Minutes in 1978, alongside Safer). Safer has been on the program since that time.

Safer is also the author of the bestselling book, Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam. It describes his 1989 return to Vietnam and features his interviews with known and less-well-known Vietnamese people, most of them veterans of the war. These included general Vo Nguyen Giap, Duong Quynh Hoa, Pham Xuan An, major Nguyen Be, and others. He also visited the Caravelle Hotel, the Marble Mountains & air field, China Beach, Hue, Quang Tri City, a Cham museum, and old Wrecking yard full of American artefacts, and several other locations. The book also contains reflections on Bill Moyers (regarding the Cam Ne affair), Barry Goldwater, and general William Westmoreland.[5] His trip was the basis of a 60 minutes show in 1989, which Safer said got a reaction of annoyance from some veterans, and a positive reaction from others.[6]

He and his wife, the former Jane Fearer, live in New York City. They have a daughter, Sarah Alice Anne Safer, who is a graduate of Brown University[7] and freelance journalist. Due to personal preference, Safer is still a Canadian citizen, and thus maintains dual citizenship.[8]

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