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Mike Wallace from CBS News Passes Away

Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) — Longtime CBS correspondent Mike Wallace is being remembered by friends and colleagues as a fiercely aggressive interviewer who was proud of his intimidating demeanor.

CBS News chairman Jeff Fager says Wallace, who died last night in a Connecticut care facility at the age of 93, was well aware of his reputation as a tough, pugnacious interviewer. He says Wallace “loved the fact that if he showed up for an interview, it made people nervous.”

Fox News Channel Roger Ailes says he never heard anyone accuse Wallace of taking a “cheap shot” or “playing some kind of game.” He says of Wallace, “He actually was trying to serve the audience, and that’s what made him great.”

ABC News President Ben Sherwood says Wallace established a huge following for CBS’s “60 Minutes.” He says millions of viewers regularly tuned in every Sunday night to see what questions he would ask and who would be on the receiving end of his interrogations.

“60 Minutes” plans a full tribute to Wallace next Sunday.

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NEW YORK (AP) — It’s often been said that the scariest words in the English language were “Mike Wallace is here to see you.”

The man who inspired that fear — through his aggressive interviewing style that could resemble a cross-examination — has died. The longtime “60 Minutes” correspondent was 93. A CBS spokesman says Wallace died last night at a care facility in Connecticut where he had lived in recent years.

His career spanned 60 years — but he became best known on “60 Minutes” after it went on the air in 1968. He became known as a reporter who spent hours preparing for interviews, and then putting his subject on the spot with a skeptical follow-up question.

He could be equally tough on public and private behavior — grilling top Nixon White House aide John Erlichman as the Watergate scandal unfolded in 1973 — and then, years later reducing Barbra Streisand to tears as he mocked her decades of psychoanalysis.

Among those who tried to take Wallace on in court was retired Gen. William Westmoreland, who sought $120 million for a 1982 documentary about the war in Vietnam. Westmoreland dropped the libel suit in 1985 after a long trial.

Wallace once said he didn’t think he had an unfair advantage over his subjects. He said someone he interviews “lives with his subject matter every day. All I’m armed with is research.”

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