Steve Kroft, the longest tenured correspondent on the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes,” is retiring at the end of the current season, the network announced Friday.
Kroft, 73, will have his final segment on the program this Sunday. He first joined “60 Minutes” in 1989, becoming part of the correspondent lineup that included Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Ed Bradley and Harry Reasoner.
“From the moment Steve Kroft arrived at CBS News in 1980, he has been shot out of a cannon and wherever he landed his stories broke news, had depth, and a strong sense of humanity,” CBS News president Susan Zirinsky, said in a statement. “From Central America to a tour of duty in London and back to New York, his destiny was clear — Kroft’s investigative instincts and ability to unravel the most complex stories made him a perfect fit for the ‘60 Minutes’ team.”
Kroft was the correspondent in one of the best remembered “60 Minutes” segments, in 1992, when then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, responded to news about his alleged affair with cabaret singer Gennifer Flowers. Airing after a CBS telecast of the Super Bowl, it was watched by 34 million viewers.
During the interview, a lighting rig came loose and almost hit Hillary Clinton.
Kroft was a favorite interviewer of former President Barack Obama, who spoke with Kroft 11 times during his two terms in the White House.
After graduating from Syracuse University in 1967, Kroft’ began his career in the Army as a correspondent-photographer in Vietnam. He got his master’s in journalism from Columbia in 1975 and worked in Jacksonville and Miami, Florida, where he won local television awards for his reporting on political corruption and the drug trade.
CBS News hired Kroft in 1980 and made him a correspondent in 1981. He covered the civil war in El Salvador and the U.S. invasion of Grenada before being posted to the London bureau, where he reported on European affairs and terrorism. He returned to New York in 1987 to be a correspondent on the newsmagazine “West 57th.”
Kroft has won numerous honors for his “60 Minutes” work, including five Peabody Awards. The program will pay tribute to Kroft’s 50-year career on a broadcast in September.