ElderMovie List Update
The Second Draft of Our History

Saying Goodbye to Old Friends

category_bug_journal2.gif Writers, politicians, moguls and musicians. Actors, sports stars, journalists, even people who are famous only for being famous. Celebrities die every day. Few, if any, are personal losses. We note their passing, maybe mention it to a friend and move on. Not infrequently we’re surprised to find out they were still alive until their recent demise.

But there are some who, even though we knew them only at an impersonal distance, unknowingly touched us in some manner and we mourn them as though they were friends. The Kennedy brothers, John and Robert, were two of those for me. So was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And John Lennon.

Working on a blog post last Thursday while election follow-ups on CNN droned in the background, I was surprised to feel tears well up when the news anchor interrupted to announce the death, at age 65, of 60 Minutes correspondent, Ed Bradley.

Ten years ago or so, I was introduced to Mr. Bradley in the halls of the CBS Broadcast Center in New York where I then worked at cbsnews.com. We shook hands, exchanged brief pleasantries and went our separate ways. Mr. Bradley never saw me again, but I kept in touch with him, as I always had, via 60 Minutes on Sunday evenings.

Ed Bradley didn’t do “gotcha” journalism. He didn’t get in anyone’s face. He wasn’t a grandstander. He just insistently probed and prodded and reported in an understated manner that got closer to the heart of the matter than more prickly reporters. He was more intelligent than your average journalist too. And he had style.

Walter Cronkite was dubbed “the most trusted man in America,” but it has been decades since he held the news anchor chair. The man I have trusted most of all to tell me stories straight and true was Ed Bradley, but he was a not a personal friend and I didn’t know I would miss him until he died.

It is said that old friends are the best friends which can be so because there is a comfortableness in having known someone a long time. There is another kind of comfort in having known over many years, even at a distance, people we have come to appreciate, to look forward to seeing or reading for their talent, integrity, achievements and, in Mr. Bradley’s case for me, how well they instructed us.

A sad fact of getting older is that as these contemporaries die, the field of “friends-at-a-distance” who have defined our era and enriched our lives grows smaller. Often, having been there from our youth, they are replaced by younger people with whom we have little personal history. And so with each passing, our worlds become less and less familiar.

Ed Bradley’s death is one of those moments - a small, but important corner of my world is gone.


Comments

I'm not a 60 Minutes regular (I'm not that much of a TV-watcher--my TV is buried, somewhere, in my sewing room); but, I did appreciate Mr Bradley. He wasn't old enough to be pegged as an elder statesman; but, that's how he comported himself. Many thoughtful viewers will miss him.

A beautiful tribute to Ed Bradley. He was a very special person and he will be missed.

Thanks Ronni for the tribute to Mr. Bradley. Each time we "lose" one of these friends, we lose a little more class & substance from our lives & our culture. He will be missed. Dee

Another irreplaceable loss.
In an environment of corporate control of the media and ever-shrinking credibility, you always knew that Ed Bradley wouldn't BS you. He'd earned his stripes the hard way and just wouldn't sell out.

I had the privilege of working with Ed on coverage of the political conventions and when I was on the foreign desk and he was in Viet Nam. He was not your usual fellow -- warm, honorable, dignified yet a lot of fun. I wrote about him on my blog - don't need to repeat it all here but it's good that we take sober and respectful note of his passing.

The word that comes to my mind in regards to Ed Bradley is "integrity." I always appreciated him for that.

Nice tribute Ronni.

Did you happen to see the tribute last night to Ed Bradley that was the entire "60 Minutes".

It was so special and showed another side to Ed Bradley, a guy named "Teddy"(alter ego") who loved jazz and would get up, shake a tamborine, and sing at the New Orleans jazz fest. He only knew one song well enough to sing it, "60 Minute Man" an oldie from the 50's that I remember.

"A sad fact of getting older is that as these contemporaries die, the field of “friends-at-a-distance” who have defined our era and enriched our lives grows smaller."

They do, indeed, feel like friends whether or not we've ever met them. My field is growing smaller with every passing year.

A lovely tribute, Ronni.

I will miss Ed Bradley. On Sundays,
I always look forward to watching
60 minutes.

Ed was so cool and his humanity showed most always. I enjoyed the special they did on him on 60 minutes last night too and was very touched by it.

Ed Bradley richly deserves every tribute that is given in his memory and yours, Ronnie, was one of the lovliest. I have faithfully watched "60 Minutes" for years and Ed was always a favorite. To see him shake the tambourine last Sunday evening was so typical of his humanity; the joy he displayed in doing so was a delight to behold. We have lost another irreplaceable giant.

Exactly my thoughts as I heard the news of Mr. Bradley...as I watched his reports throughout the years, I was amazed how he could survive and endure in such a competitive field where many star reporters walked off into the sunset because of office politics.... an example Brian Gumbel... I always learned valuable information from his reports...I am hanging on to Katie Couric, Charles Gibson just to name a few. Jane Pauley defined my day when she hosted the Today Show...now I am watching Merideth Vierra ...I love her sense of down to earthness...

But to survive in this "Brave New World," I have to give up portions of "my personal history" in order to embrace with gusto new lifestyle situations and new friends...some how I feel energerized with accepting the challenge of "new expectations!."

Thank you Ronni for your tribute to Ed Bradley. I always appreciated his talent and intellect and yes, you could always feel you trusted him..he was authentic and true to himself in his reporting. He will be sorely missed.

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