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Not long after we got news of the death of Morley Safer, we got word that the mother of Chris Wallace had died.
While Safer worked for CBS News for 52 years, it was “Kappy” Leonard who was known as the unofficial first lady of the news division. She was married to Bill Leonard, who was president of CBS News from 1979-1982, but had been been a correspondent since 1945. He was Chris Wallace‘s stepfather. Wallace’s father was legendary 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace, who died in 2012, and had also been a correspondent in the news division.
In 1962, when her ex-husband Mike Wallace wanted to come to CBS News from the entertainment side, then-CBS News President Dick Salant asked Bill Leonard, then head of the Election Unit, if that would create any problems for him. Only after “Kappy” gave her okay did Mike Wallace get the job.
“My mom’s life was intertwined with TV news,” said Chris Wallace in a statement. “She was married to two giants of the industry. And she was the den mother for generations of CBS News journalists. She was a savvy producer and editor. And a great many of her insights ended up on the air. In her spare time, she was a wonderful mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. 3 generations of Wallaces and Leonard’s miss her deeply.”
Norma “Kappy” Leonard passed away Monday night. She was 95 years old. Her funeral is set for Sunday. John Roberts will host FOX News Sunday this weekend.