HARRY REASONER Biography - People in the News and Media


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Name: Harry Reasoner                                                               
Born: 17 April 1923                                                               
Died: 6 August 1991                                                               
Harry Reasoner (April 17, 1923 - August 6, 1991) was an American journalist       
known for his inventive use of language as a television commentator.               
Harry Reasoner reporting for ABC News on August 8, 1974 about the impending       
resignation announcement by then-President Richard Nixon.                         
Born in Dakota City, Iowa, Reasoner studied journalism at Stanford University     
and the University of Minnesota. He served in World War II and then resumed his   
journalism career with The Minneapolis Times. After going into radio with CBS in   
1948, Reasoner worked for the United States Information Agency in the             
Philippines. When he returned stateside, he went into television and worked at     
station KEYD (later KMSP) in Minneapolis. Reasoner then moved to New York, where   
he hosted a morning news program called Calendar on top of doing commentator and   
special news narration duties.                                                     
In 1968, Reasoner teamed up with Mike Wallace to begin the 60 Minutes             
newsmagazine series. At 60 Minutes, and elsewhere, he often worked with producer   
and writer Andy Rooney, who later became a well-known correspondent in his own     
Reasoner joined ABC in 1970 as co-anchor with Howard K. Smith (himself a CBS       
alumnus) of the ABC Evening News until 1976, when Reasoner became sole anchor.     
During most of that period, he and Smith alternated providing commentaries at     
the end of each newscast, generally espousing conservative viewpoints such as     
support for the Vietnam War and opposition to governmental social programs.       
These views often contrasted with the more liberal (or skeptical) observations     
of Eric Sevareid on CBS or David Brinkley on NBC, Reasoner and Smith's             
contemporaries at the time.                                                       
From 1976 until 1978, Reasoner co-anchored the news with Barbara Walters.         
Walters and Reasoner did not enjoy a close relationship; Reasoner not only did     
not like sharing the spotlight with a co-anchor but was uncomfortable with         
Walters' celebrity status. The arrangement ended in 1978. Reasoner returned to     
CBS and remained at the network until he retired in May 1991.                     
Reasoner was married twice, to Kathleen Carroll Reasoner for 34 years and then     
to Lois Harriett Weber. He had seven children by his first marriage. Reasoner     
died three months after his retirement at the age of 68 from a blood clot in the   
brain received from a fall at his home in Westport, Connecticut. He is interred   
at Union Cemetery in Humboldt, Iowa. An editorial cartoon the day after his       
death showed Reasoner arriving at the Pearly Gates, with a startled St. Peter     
crying, "Oh, no! It's 60 Minutes!"                                                 
Reasoner did not mind poking a little fun at his profession. Two of his more       
cynical comments on journalism:                                                   
"Journalism is a kind of profession, or craft, or racket, for people who never     
wanted to grow up and go out into the real world."                                 
"If you're a good journalist, what you do is live a lot of things vicariously,     
and report them for other people who want to live vicariously."