Veteran “60 Minutes” newsman Mike Wallace will not be returning to television after undergoing triple bypass surgery in January, according to his son, “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.
The elder Wallace, who turned 90 in May, is now recovering from a recent fall in his New York home. He was hospitalized because he is taking a blood thinner and doctors wanted to make sure “that he didn’t bleed out,” Chris told U.S. News & World Report’s Paul Bedard.
Chris said his father’s heart “is working just fine” but that he was finished with TV and plans to spend the summer at his home in Martha’s Vineyard.
The elder Wallace was on the “60 Minutes” staff when the program debuted in 1968. He retired as a fulltime correspondent in 2006 but continued to work for CBS News.
Over his long career, Wallace has been no stranger to controversy.
During a break in taping a “60 Minutes” segment in March 1981, he commented on why blacks and Hispanics had difficulty reading loan applications: “They’re hard to read if you’re reading them over watermelon or tacos.”
Wallace interviewed Gen. William Westmoreland for a CBS special that aired in 1982, which accused Westmoreland of covering up the size of enemy forces in Vietnam. Westmoreland filed a $120 million libel suit against CBS. The suit turned out to be a public relations disaster for Wallace, and he and CBS decided to settle the case out of court.
Another prominent figure interviewed by Wallace, Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, called Wallace “the epitome of sabotage journalism.”
The newsman was arrested in 2004 following a dispute with two New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission inspectors. Wallace found the pair talking to his driver, who was double-parked, and Wallace objected, at one point lunging at one of the inspectors. He was released after receiving a court summons to answer disorderly conduct charges.
During a panel discussion at Harvard in 1987, Wallace outraged other panel members by declaring that if he were a reporter traveling with enemy soldiers, he would not warn U.S. troops of an impending ambush.
Wallace — who has been treated for depression — revealed on the May 21, 2006 episode of “60 Minutes” that he once attempted suicide by taking an overdose of pills.
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