Monday, August 17, 2015

Ed Bradley

There was no one more important in my time at CBS than Ed Bradley.

He was a dear friend and he was a highly respected figure to me and everyone else. He was also a gentle soul and a top notch newsman.

Top notch. He garnered 20 Emmys.

He was good and he was cool as well. Believe you me, it's hard to be a cool newsman. 

Ed made it look easy.

I first met him at a banquet that honored Coretta Scott King. It was a black tie affair. I was there and as it turned out, Ed was too. I'd never met him but I sure knew who he was. We shook hands and he said, "I'm hearing good things about you." I said," Thank you" back, but I've never forgotten. I was brand new and to have someone like that even acknowledge me was just...

A couple of Cool Ed Bradley stories...

That picture you see is from my 40th Birthday Party. Look at my face. Kid in a candy store. That night was a blur but I remember Ed asking, "Do you have any Nevilles?" He was a big fan of the Neville Brothers. As it turned out, so was I, and they were on the box toot sweet.

I told you that story to tell you this one.

Years before, I was in New Orleans standing in front of the famous club, Tipitina's, when I heard a voice say with a smile, "What are you doing here?"

Ed Bradley.

I explained I was in town for Mardi Gras and since the Neville Brothers were playing there that night, I thought I'd go see them. "Good choice," he said with a grin, and then said he had to go and he disappeared. Later on, I'm in the crowd, the Neville Brothers are onstage, and who comes out? Ed Bradley.  Guess what song they did?  If you said, "60 Minute Man," you would be correct.

Most people don't know he was an accomplished cook.

I took a date, Taryn, to his apartment for dinner.  When we arrived, Ed was in the kitchen, with reading glasses on, following the recipe for that night's dinner. The open cook book was on an easel protected by a plastic cover. He was in the middle of preparing the meal and when it was done, it was delicious. We washed it down with a red wine that I brought and off we went to the Beacon Theater.

On the bill that night...Reverend Al Green, the Staple Singers and Bobby 'Blue' Bland. He was there to introduce the Reverend but the thing I remember the most? Going through the crowd with Ed and watching the faces of the people as they recognized him. The double takes. It was hysterical.

Good times.

Ed passed away on November 9, 2006 due to complications from leukemia.

At his memorial, it seemed like everyone was there. Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, singer Paul Simon, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Diane Sawyer, Mike Wallace, Andy Rooney, the list goes on and on. His good friends Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Jimmy Buffett were there.

Aaron Neville sang.

Wynton Marsalis played.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke.

And at the end the congregation left the church to the strains of "When the Saints Go Marching In," with people waving white handkerchiefs in the style of a New Orleans funeral.

I still have mine.

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