Morley Safer

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Morley Safer
Morley Safer.jpg
Morley Safer at the LBJ Presidential Library
Born (1931-11-08) November 8, 1931 (age 87)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian, American[1]
Ethnicity Jewish
Alma mater University of Western Ontario
Occupation News reporter
Years active 1964–present
Spouse(s) Jane Fearer
Children Sarah Alice Anne Safer

Morley Safer (born November 8, 1931) is a Canadian-American 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.

Life and career

Safer was born to an Austrian-Jewish family in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Anna (née Cohn) and Max Safer, an upholsterer.[2] He attended Harbord Collegiate Institute and Bloor Collegiate, Clinton Street Public school located at 460 Manning Ave, Toronto Ontario,[3] and briefly attended University of Western Ontario.[4]

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 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."[5]

In 1967, Safer was named the London bureau chief, a post he held for three years. Safer was also a CBS reporter during the Nigerian Civil War.[6] 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 (Vietnam) & air field, China Beach, Huế, Quảng Trị City, a Cham museum, an old wrecking yard full of American artifacts, and several other locations. The book also contains reflections on Bill Moyers (regarding the Cam Ne affair), Barry Goldwater, and General William Westmoreland.[7] 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.[8]

He and his wife, Jane Fearer, live in New York City. They have a daughter, Sarah Alice Anne Safer, who is a 1992 graduate of Brown University[9] and freelance journalist. Due to personal preference, Safer is still a Canadian citizen, and thus maintains dual citizenship.[10]


Morley Safer at the 64th Annual Peabody Awards


  2. "Morley Safer Biography (1931-)". Retrieved October 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Sweethearts, The Builders, The Mob and the Men, page 6 – author Catherine Wismer (ISBN 0-88862-384-4)
  4. "If Anthropologist Jane Safer Finds Husband Morley Home, It's Rarely for More Than 60 Minutes". Retrieved October 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2005, Pacifica Radio/UC Berkeley Social Activism Sound Recording Project: Anti-Vietnam War Protests in the San Francisco Bay Area & Beyond
  6. Harold Evans (2003). War Stories: Reporting in the Time of Conflict from the Crimea to Iraq. World News Series. Bunker Hill Publishing, Inc.,. p. 42. ISBN 9781593730055.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Flashbacks, Safer, 1991, St Martins Press / Random House
  8. CSPAN booknotes: Flashbacks from vietnam, 1990, Brian Lamb / Morley Safer
  9. Brown University, 1992, Morley Safer of CBS to receive University’s first Welles Hangen Award
  11. "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved May 27, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links