'60 Minutes' correspondent Bob Simon dies in car crash

Veteran CBS newsman Bob Simon, who spent more than 40 years dodging bullets and escaping tight spots in war zones, died in a car crash on a westside New York City highway on Wednesday.

Simon was riding in the backseat of a livery cab around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday on New York City's West Side Highway when the car rear-ended another vehicle and crashed into barriers separating north- and southbound traffic, the New York Police Department said in a statement. Unconscious with head and torso injuries, Simon was transported to St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital where he died. The livery cab driver was taken to another hospital with injuries to his arms and legs. Police were investigating but made no arrests.

The CBS website gave some highlights of his career:

Simon's five-decade career took him through most major overseas conflicts spanning from the late 1960s to the present. He joined CBS News in 1967 as a New York-based reporter and assignment editor, covering campus unrest and inner city riots. Simon also worked in CBS News' Tel Aviv bureau from 1977-81, and worked in Washington D.C. as the network's State Department correspondent.

But Simon's career in war reporting was extensive, beginning in Vietnam. While based in Saigon from 1971-72, his reports on the war -- and particularly the Hanoi 1972 spring offensive -- won an Overseas Press Club award award for the Best Radio Spot News for coverage of the end of the conflict. Simon was there for the end of the conflict and was aboard one of the last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975.

He also reported on the violence in Northern Ireland in from 1969-71 and also from war zones in Portugal, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia and American military actions in Grenada, Somalia and Haiti.

Simon was named CBS News' chief Middle East correspondent in 1987, and became the leading broadcast journalist in the region, working in Tel Aviv for more than 20 years.

During the early days of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Simon was imprisoned and tortured by the Iraqi army along with three CBS News colleagues. He later chronicled the experience in a book, "Forty Days."

"...This was the most searing experience of my life," Simon told the Los Angeles Times. "...I wrote about it because I needed to write about it."

In 1996, he won one more OPC Award, a Peabody Award and two Emmy Awards for coverage of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. CBS News received an RTNDA Overall Excellence in Television Award in 1996 largely because of Simon's reporting from war-torn Sarajevo.

Simon was no empty headed, blow-dried teleprompter reader. He was a Fulbright Scholar as well as Woodrow Wilson Scholar. He worked as a foreign service officer out of college, switching to journalism in 1967.

He reported from every major hotspot over the last 50 years, often times under fire. No matter what journalism has become, Simon thrived in an age when reporters took pride in informing the public. And given the complexities involved in many of the stories he covered, his ability to distill information and deliver it authoritatively and in a way that was understandable to the average American was a talent few of his colleagues could match.

Simon leaves behind a legacy of outstanding achievement. Courage and integrity were his hallmarks and we will probably never see his like again.

 

 

Veteran CBS newsman Bob Simon, who spent more than 40 years dodging bullets and escaping tight spots in war zones, died in a car crash on a westside New York City highway on Wednesday.

Simon was riding in the backseat of a livery cab around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday on New York City's West Side Highway when the car rear-ended another vehicle and crashed into barriers separating north- and southbound traffic, the New York Police Department said in a statement. Unconscious with head and torso injuries, Simon was transported to St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital where he died. The livery cab driver was taken to another hospital with injuries to his arms and legs. Police were investigating but made no arrests.

The CBS website gave some highlights of his career:

Simon's five-decade career took him through most major overseas conflicts spanning from the late 1960s to the present. He joined CBS News in 1967 as a New York-based reporter and assignment editor, covering campus unrest and inner city riots. Simon also worked in CBS News' Tel Aviv bureau from 1977-81, and worked in Washington D.C. as the network's State Department correspondent.

But Simon's career in war reporting was extensive, beginning in Vietnam. While based in Saigon from 1971-72, his reports on the war -- and particularly the Hanoi 1972 spring offensive -- won an Overseas Press Club award award for the Best Radio Spot News for coverage of the end of the conflict. Simon was there for the end of the conflict and was aboard one of the last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975.

He also reported on the violence in Northern Ireland in from 1969-71 and also from war zones in Portugal, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia and American military actions in Grenada, Somalia and Haiti.

Simon was named CBS News' chief Middle East correspondent in 1987, and became the leading broadcast journalist in the region, working in Tel Aviv for more than 20 years.

During the early days of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Simon was imprisoned and tortured by the Iraqi army along with three CBS News colleagues. He later chronicled the experience in a book, "Forty Days."

"...This was the most searing experience of my life," Simon told the Los Angeles Times. "...I wrote about it because I needed to write about it."

In 1996, he won one more OPC Award, a Peabody Award and two Emmy Awards for coverage of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. CBS News received an RTNDA Overall Excellence in Television Award in 1996 largely because of Simon's reporting from war-torn Sarajevo.

Simon was no empty headed, blow-dried teleprompter reader. He was a Fulbright Scholar as well as Woodrow Wilson Scholar. He worked as a foreign service officer out of college, switching to journalism in 1967.

He reported from every major hotspot over the last 50 years, often times under fire. No matter what journalism has become, Simon thrived in an age when reporters took pride in informing the public. And given the complexities involved in many of the stories he covered, his ability to distill information and deliver it authoritatively and in a way that was understandable to the average American was a talent few of his colleagues could match.

Simon leaves behind a legacy of outstanding achievement. Courage and integrity were his hallmarks and we will probably never see his like again.