He was a journalist and television presenter born Edward Rudolph Bradley Jr. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He went to boarding school when he was nine and studied at Mount Saint Charles Academy in Rhode Island followed by Cheyney State College in Pennsylvania, where he graduated from with a degree in Education in 1964.
Venturing into the teaching profession he taught sixth grade students at Philadelphia’s William B. Mann Elementary School and at the same time worked at WDAS Studios as a newsreader, music programmer and basketball commentator. In 1967 he joined the WCBS radio station and in 1971 decided to pack everything up and move to Paris, France.
He came to a time there though when he ran out of money and so worked in the field for CBS News as a stringer at the 1971 Paris Peace Talks. The following year he applied to go to Saigon as a reporter and from there he covered the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia and got wounded in the process. Returning to the United States he settled in Washington D.C. in 1974 and in 1976 was called upon to be the anchor for CBS Sunday Night News as well as cover the Jimmy Carter Presidential campaign which led to him being the White House Correspondent for CBS News.
In 1978, he worked on CBS Reports and stayed there for around three years until he was given the post on the show 60 Minutes, which had previously belonged to Dan Rather. This was to become “his” show and he remained there for 26 years covering in excess of 500 stories and interviewing guests such as Muhammed Ali, George Burns, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan , Lena Horne, Michael Jackson, Sir Mick Jagger , Sir Laurence Olivier, Howard Stern and Liza Minnelli, who was the one who encouraged him to wear an earring, and many more.
Recognised many times for his contribution to the broadcasting industry, the National Association of Black Journalists gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award, he received 19 Emmy Awards that included a Lifetime Achievement Emmy, won a Peabody Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award among many others.
In the music world he also made his mark, although not to the same degree as in his TV career, and for a time was called “the Fifth Neville Brother” as he would often appear with them on stage. The same went for his friend Jimmy Buffett who called him “Teddy Badly” when he appeared with him at concerts and often sang a rendition of “Sixty Minute Man”. He was also the host of Jazz at Lincoln Center for more then 10 years.
In the 2000s he was hit by chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and, after complications set in, he died aged 65 in hospital in Manhattan. His friend, the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, closed 60 Minutes by playing solo jazz music that night and The New Orleans Jazzfest honoured him the following year by staging a jazz funeral procession. He was married to the artist Patricia Blanchet.
Here he is talking about his love of music as well as his other work as a reporter and interviewer…