Washington, Apr 9 : Mike Wallace, the `60 Minutes' pit-bull CBS reporter whose probing and brazen style made his name synonymous with a tough interview, died on Saturday. He was 93.
The reporter passed peacefully surrounded by family members at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, Conn., where he spent the past few years.
"All of us at CBS News and particularly at `60 Minutes' owe so much to Mike. Without him and his iconic style, there probably wouldn't be a `60 Minutes'," CBS News quoted Jeff Fager, chairman CBS News and executive producer of `60 Minutes' as saying.
As the journalism world reacted to the iconic newsman's passing, the AP's David Bauder noted the `60 Minutes' journalist's reputation as a pitiless inquisitor was so fearsome that the words "Mike Wallace is here to see you" were the most dreaded words in the English language, capable of reducing an interview subject to a shaking, sweating mess.
"Wallace didn't just interview people," Bauder said.
"He interrogated them. He cross-examined them. Sometimes he eviscerated them. His weapons were many: thorough research, a cocked eyebrow, a skeptical "Come on" and a question so direct sometimes it took your breath away," he added.
Leslie Moonves, the president and CEO, CBS Corporation, also expressed his grief on the legend's death.
"It is with tremendous sadness that we mark the passing of Mike Wallace. His extraordinary contribution as a broadcaster is immeasurable and he has been a force within the television industry throughout its existence. His loss will be felt by all of us at CBS," Moonves said.
Wallace made `60 Minutes' compulsively watchable, television's first newsmagazine that became appointment viewing on Sunday nights. His last interview, in January 2008, was with Roger Clemens on his alleged steroid use. Slowed by a triple bypass later that month and the ravages of time, he retired from public life.
During the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, he asked Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini - then a feared figure - what he thought about being called "a lunatic" by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Khomeini answered by predicting Sadat's assassination.
Late in his career, he interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin, and even challenged him.
"This isn't a real democracy, come on!" he had said. (ANI)