60 Minutes Man

I first met Ed Bradley while I was a journalism student in graduate school. I interviewed him for my thesis on Minorities in the Media.

In 1976,  Ed Bradley became CBS' first-ever African-American correspondent to the White House. The last time I saw Ed before he died, he was standing on the corner of 66 Street and Broadway. I had finished lecturing my journalism students at NYIT. We spoke briefly, but he never said anything about his leukemia. Ed was friendly each and every time we spoke.   

Ed was one of a kind. He graduated from Thomas More Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia and Cheyney State Teachers College. Ed Bradley was teaching sixth grade in the Philadelphia public school system when he accepted a dare to report the news on a local radio station; he fell in love with it and continued doing the news for free until his coverage of a local race riot brought him to the attention of the local major news outlet, and from then on his career was launched.

A stalwart of the CBS news program 60 Minutes 1968 for more than a quarter-century, Bradley was best known for his thoughtful and perceptive news reporting and interviewing. He died on November 9, 2006, in New York City of leukemia.

Although Bradley never had kids, he was married to Haitian-born artist Patricia Blanchet, whom he met at New York’s Museum for African Art where she was working as Director of Development. Despite the age difference, she was 24 years younger than he, Bradley pursued her, and they dated for 10 years before marrying in a private ceremony in Woody Creek, Colorado, where they had a home. Bradley also maintained two homes in New York: one in East Hampton, and the other in New York City.

In the early 1970s, Bradley had a brief romantic relationship with Jessica Savitch, who at that time was an administrative assistant for CBS News and later became an NBC News anchor. After the relationship ended, Bradley and Savitch continued to have a non-romantic social and professional relationship until her death in 1983.

Bradley was known for loving all kinds of music, but he was especially a jazz music enthusiast. He hosted the Peabody Award-winning Jazz at Lincoln Center on National Public Radio for over a decade until just before his death. A big fan of the Neville Brothers, Bradley performed on stage with the bunch, and was known as "the fifth Neville brother". Bradley was also friends with Jimmy Buffett, and would often perform on stage with him, under the name "Teddy". Bradley had limited musical ability and did not have an extensive repertoire, but would usually draw smiles by singing the 1951 classic by Billy Ward and the Dominoes, "Sixty Minute Man". Ed Bradley died on November 9, 2006, at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, of complications from lymphocytic leukemia. He was 65 years young.