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October 6, 2015

Former CBS News Correspondent Robert Pierpoint Dies, Aged 86

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 24th 2011 6:25AM
Robert PierpointIt's been announced that Emmy-winning news correspondent Robert Pierpoint has died, aged 86. His daughter Marta Pierpoint told the Associated Press that he died Saturday, of complications arising from hip surgery at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

In a career spanning more than four decades Pierpoint covered six presidents, the Korean War, the Kennedy assassination, Watergate and the Iranian hostage crisis. He entered the CBS news room in 1949 as it was shifting from radio to TV under Ed Murrow, and he made his name covering the Korean War.

Pierpoint covered the Korean War from start to finish, and although he reported mostly on radio, his reports focusing on individual soldiers and civilians caught up in the conflict were featured in the landmark CBS 'See it Now' broadcasts including the premiere in November 1951 and 'Christmas in Korea' in December 1953.

His contribution was later honored in the 'M*A*S*H' series finale in 1983 when, in a case of art imitating life, it is Pierpoint's voice heard on the radio announcing the end of the Korean War.

Pierpoint won two Emmy Awards, for his work reporting on Vice President Spiro Agnew's resignation and on President Richard M. Nixon's friend Charles G. Rebozo. He was also awarded the Drew Pearson Foundation Award for Investigative Reporting.

His former colleague at CBS, Bob Schieffer, paid tribute yesterday, saying "Bob was one of the best of the best."

Marta Pierpoint said her father "lived quite an amazing life," adding that he was most proud of his coverage of the Korean War, Watergate and, especially, the Kennedy assassination. Recalling the events in Dallas brought him to tears in an interview with his hometown paper, the 'Santa Barbara News-Press,' just a few weeks ago.

"I didn't like what the priest said about a time to live and a time to die," Pierpoint said. "It was not Kennedy's time to die." He also said he'd always regretted not mentioning that Mrs. Kennedy's pink suit was soaked in blood: "I didn't describe the blood, and I should have. I was in shock."

Pierpoint was CBS' White House correspondent from 1957 (Eisenhower) through 1980 (Carter), an assignment he later chronicled in his 1981 memoir, 'At the White House.' He then moved to the State Department beat where he covered the Iran hostage crisis. Pierpoint's final CBS assignment was 'Sunday Morning,' with Charles Kuralt. He retired from CBS News in 1990.

Robert Pierpoint is survived by his wife, Patricia, and four children.

Bob Schieffer pays tribute:

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