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Richard Threlkeld, an Emmy-winning former correspondent for CBS and ABC News, was killed in a car crash on Friday morning, The Associated Press reported.
According to The AP, the veteran correspondent, 74, died in Amagansett, N.Y., when his Mini Cooper collided with a propane tanker, causing the car to go off the rails and crash into a fence. The police department in the nearby town of East Hampton, where Threlkeld lived with his wife of 28 years (and former CBS correspondent) Betsy Aaron, said he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The tanker’s driver, Earl Freyberger, did not suffer injuries in the collision. A police investigation is under way, the AP reported.
Threlkeld — who’s survived by Aaron, two children and two grandchildren — retired in 1998 after serving more than 25 years with CBS News, wearing multiple hats throughout the years as an anchor, correspondent and bureau chief. His coverage ranged from the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars to the Bill Clinton‘s presidential campaigns in the ’90s to the Patty Hearst kidnapping.
“We were together when we covered the biggest story of our lives: the fall of Saigon, April 29, 1975,” said Bob Simon, correspondent for CBS’ 60 Minutes, in a statement issued by CBS. “We were both in one of the last helicopters to leave the American embassy. We were on the same aircraft carrier on that sad trip to the Philippines.”
“Richard was old school in the best sense,” Simon continued. “He really didn’t give a damn about being on camera. He didn’t do many stand-ups. He always figured there was more interesting footage than himself.”
Threlkeld co-anchored The CBS Morning News with Lesley Stahl from 1977-79, and was also a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and The CBS Evening News Wth Dan Rather. He left the network in 1981 to join ABC News, where he had a news analyst role, returning to CBS eight years later. Back at his old stomping grounds, he took an assignment reporting from Moscow, later turning his experience into the 2001 book, “Dispatches from the Former Evil Empire.”
“Richard Threlkeld had the kind of name and kind of looks that could’ve made him a reporter in the movies, but unlike a reporter in the movies, he could write his own scripts,” Stahl said in a statement. “In fact, he was one of our best writers and reporters, someone CBS sent to troubled spots to cover the big stories of the day. Richard was known for his integrity and his decency.”
During his storied career, Threlkeld collected Emmy and Overseas Press Club awards, as well as an Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Award, one of broadcast journalism’s most prestigious honors.
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