CBS News’ correspondent Bob Simon dies in auto accident

February 12th, 2015 by Staff

Simon, 73, was transported to nearby hospital where he later died.

(New York Times) NEW YORK – Bob Simon, an award-winning CBS News correspondent whose career spanned nearly 50 years and many major world conflicts, was killed in a car crash in Manhattan on Wednesday, according to the network and the authorities.

He was 73.

Mr. Simon was a passenger in a livery cab that sideswiped a Mercedes-Benz sedan stopped at a red light on 12th Avenue near West 30th Street about 6:45 pm., the police said. The cab then careened into the median, crashing into the metal stanchions separating the northbound and southbound traffic lanes. Mr. Simon was taken to Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The 44-year-old livery-cab driver was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center with injuries to his legs and arms, the Fire Department said. The driver of the Mercedes-Benz was not injured, according to the police.

The police said on Wednesday night that the accident was under investigation.

Mr. Simon, who was in his 19th season as a correspondent for “60 Minutes,” won dozens of honors, including 27 Emmy Awards and four Peabody Awards, in a career that dated to the 1960s. He covered many major news events during the course of that career and, as a war correspondent, was captured by Iraqi forces near the Saudi-Kuwaiti border during the opening days of the Persian Gulf war in January 1991. He wrote about the experience in his 1992 memoir, “40 Days.” The title referred to the length of his captivity.

He joined CBS News in 1967 as a reporter and assignment editor in New York covering unrest on college campuses, inner-city riots and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. He found his niche as a war reporter covering the Vietnam War.

He was based in Saigon and London from 1971 to 1977, and left Saigon on one of the last helicopters out of the city in 1975, CBS reported. He also covered conflicts in Northern Ireland and Portugal, as well as American military actions in Grenada, Somalia and Haiti.

He was assigned to the CBS’s Tel Aviv bureau from 1977 to 1981, before moving to Washington as the network’s State Department correspondent from 1981 to 1982. He returned to New York as a national correspondent until 1987, when he returned to Tel Aviv as the network’s chief Middle East correspondent, CBS said.

In 2000, Mr. Simon was recognized with a Peabody Award for “a body of work by an outstanding international journalist on a diverse set of critical global issues,” followed by an Emmy for lifetime achievement in 2003. He became a full-time correspondent for “60 Minutes” in 2005. He recently reported on the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and earned his most recent Emmy for a story about an orchestra in Paraguay whose members made instruments out of trash.

His latest contribution to “60 Minutes” aired over the weekend and was an interview with Ava DuVernay, the director of “Selma,” according to CBS.

“It’s a terrible loss for all of us at CBS News,” Jeff Fager, executive producer of “60 Minutes,” said in a statement. “It is such a tragedy made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who has escaped more difficult situations than almost any journalist in modern times.”

“Bob was a reporter’s reporter,” he said. “He was driven by a natural curiosity that took him all over the world covering every kind of story imaginable. There is no one else like Bob Simon. All of us at CBS News and particularly at 60 Minutes will miss him very much.”

Mr. Simon was born on May 29, 1941, in the Bronx, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University in 1962 with a degree in history, according to his biography page on the CBS website. Before joining CBS, he worked as a Foreign Service officer from 1964 to 1967. He was also a Fulbright scholar in France and a Woodrow Wilson scholar.

His survivors include his wife, Françoise, and their daughter, Tanya, who is a producer for “60 Minutes” in New York.

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