GREENWICH, Conn. -- Jay McMullen, an investigative reporter who was among the first to use hidden cameras and posed as a drug buyer or gambler for months to produce TV and radio documentaries, has died in Connecticut at age 90.
The former "CBS Reports" writer, reporter, producer and director had blood clots in his lungs and died of natural causes early Saturday in Greenwich Woods Hospice, his daughter, Anne McMullen of Olympia, Wash., said from the family home in Greenwich.
McMullen spent all but two years of his 37-year career at CBS, where he worked with Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and others in radio and television documentaries, the network said in a statement.
One of McMullen's most outstanding documentaries was "Biography of a Bookie Joint," which he narrated with Cronkite. The 1961 "CBS Reports" documentary used a surveillance camera to record Boston police officers and other gamblers entering and leaving a betting parlor disguised as a key store.
McMullen went undercover to place bets and get footage using a camera inside a lunchbox. The report triggered the demotion of senior police officers and the resignation of the commissioner of New England's largest police force.
"What we think his most important achievements are, number one, obviously, is that he really was a pioneer, that he really did pioneer investigative journalism and was the first to cover many topics," Anne McMullen said.
McMullen was born in Minneapolis and raised in Cleveland. He left Dartmouth when World War II broke out and got his first taste of broadcasting as an Army correspondent for NBC Radio's "Army Hour," winning a Bronze Star for his European reports, CBS said.
McMullen often went undercover to film his stories and won an Emmy for his most dangerous work, a 1972 report called "The Mexican Connection." He posed as a prospective drug buyer and spent eight months in Mexico documenting how marijuana and opium were smuggled into the United States by airplanes flying between mountains and at low altitudes to avoid radar detection. He even captured a deal with his hidden camera and microphone, his wife, Diane McMullen, said.
"He said when they went into Mexico, the landing was on a cliff overlooking the sea and . . . this little plane coming in and just kind of a clay little road of some kind," she said. He said it was frightening, she added.
McMullen is survived by his wife and two daughters.-- AP