Walter Cronkite: biography, career, personal life

Biography and personal life.

Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. was born on November 4, 1916, in St. Joseph, Kansas City County, Missouri. His father is a dentist doctor, his mother is a housewife. In 1926, the Cronkite family moved to Houston, Texas.

As a child, Walter was an active Boy Scout, edited a school newspaper, and attended Texas high school. After graduation, he was educated at the University of Texas, where he also ran the student newspaper The Daily Texan.

In 1936 Cronkite met his future wife Mary Elizabeth Maxwell (1916-2005). They married in 1940 and happily lived together a lifetime. Walter affectionately referred to his spouse as “Betsy.” During the marriage, the couple found three detes and four grandchildren. In 2005, Mary Elizabeth Cronkite died of cancer.

Walter was a keen radio amateur. His personal call sign was KB2GSD.

In 1997, Cronkite released his autobiography, “A Reporter’s Life”, which became a bestseller.

On July 17, 2009, Walter Cronkite died in New York City at the age of 92 after a prolonged illness. The funeral was held on 23 July.


Tuck and without graduating from university, Walter in 1935 began collaborating with local newspapers, doing reporting for them.

In the mid-1930s Walter Cronkite began a career at radio station WKY as a sports commentator in the states of Oklahoma and Missouri.

In 1937, he joined the American news agency United Press. He was among the leading reporters during World War II, covering the course of hostilities in Europe and North Africa.

He conducted reports from the first bombing of “flying fortresses” on Germany, covered D-Deir troopers and parachuting allied troops in the Netherlands. In 1944-1945 he covered the Battle of Ardennes. In 1945-1946 he conducted reports from the Nuremberg Process.

From 1946 to 1948 he worked in Moscow first as a reporter and then as bureau chief for United Press. Covered the beginning of the Cold War, rising tensions between the West and the East. From 1948 to 1950 he returned to the United States and worked as a reporter in Washington.

He joined CBS in 1950, and ran evening news broadcasts on that channel from 1951 to 1962. That’s when the terms “announcer” and “TV presenter” came into being.

In 1952, for the first time live coverage from the conventions of the Democratic and Republican parties, from the election of the president. Constantly covered all party conventions and presidential elections up to 1964.

In 1960 he conducted the very first live broadcast of the Winter Olympics.

On April 16, 1962, he became a regular anchor of the “CBS Evening News” evening news on CBS. This job quickly made him the most celebrated face on American television. Throughout his later career he reported live on major events with the United States and around the world:

  • interviewing President John F. Kennedy;
  • covering the assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy, $ assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy;
  • conducted reporting in the presidential oath of Lyndon Johnson;
  • represented the British rock band The Baetles;
  • from 1964 to 1973 spent years covering the course of the Vietnam War and the fall
  • of Saigon; reporting during the riots at the Democratic Party Convention in Chicago;
  • reporting on the Apollo 11 landing on the moon;
  • announced on the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Walter’s experience as a war correspondent helped CBS news gain a reputation as an accurate and unbiased journalistic point of reporting events. Due to this, by the late 1960s, CBS’s evening newscasts began to attract the attention of more viewers than those of their NBS competitors.

Cronkite learned to speak more slowly than was customary among most Americans. This reception gave the viewer no opportunity to doubt that this or that event actually happened.

On March 6, 1981, Walter Cronkite announced his retirement and stopped running newscasts. The new news anchor was Dan Razer.

Despite Walter’s retirement for well-deserved rest, he was listed on the broadcaster’s staff until the last day of his life and periodically made special reports and reports. For example, in 1982 Cronkite covered the UK parliamentary elections and interviewed the country’s just-winning Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for ITV.

In 1998, supported Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In 2003 he strongly criticized the government’s decision to bring troops into Iraq. In 2006, he called on U.S. President George W. Bush Jr. to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.


It was Cronkite, as a news anchor, who first reported to Americans about the most important events in the United States and in the world. It was “Uncle Walter” who was the first to tell:

  • about the Cuban crisis (1962);
  • about the assassination of President Kennedy (1963);
  • about Martin Luther King’s struggle for racial equality;
  • about assassination Roberta Kennedy (at the time
  • Cronkite was nearly bereft of feelings on live TV);
  • on the landing of astronauts on the moon (1969);
  • on the Watergate scandal (1972);

  • on the capture of American hostages in Iran (1979).

After visiting Vietnam during the Vietnam War, Cronkite made a documentary about this conflict (shown 27 February 1968) and advocated an end to the carnage. Having thus made a huge impact on public opinion, the policy of continuing the war has dramatically lost relevance among Americans. President Johnson, a supporter of continuing the conflict, declined to run for a second term, saying then, “Having lost Cronkwright, I lost the votes of a majority of Americans.”

Cronkite was one of the first to advocate free television time for all political parties, in order to protect the rights of minority candidates. In his speech, he noted that the USA is one of seven countries in the world that do not give the opportunity to speak on TV for all candidates for free.

“ Uncle Walter” is remembered for Americans for his easy and unflappable style of presenting carefully written objective news, and for always ending his news with “Here we go there are cases.”

Walter Cronkite has been awarded many prestigious journalism awards. His professional methods were taught to journalists students in many countries around the world, including the USSR.

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