Longtime CBS News correspondent Richard Threlkeld Killed in Car Crash

By Chris Ariens 

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Richard Threlkeld, who spent 25 years as an anchor and correspondent at CBS News, was killed this morning in a head-on car crash on Montauk highway in Amagansett, New York.

Threlkeld worked for local TV stations WHAS in Louisville and WMT-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa before joining CBS News in 1966 where he would remain until 1981. Threlkeld served as co-anchor of the CBS Morning News with Lesley Stahl from 1977 to 1979. In 1982 Threlkeld joined ABC News, reporting for “World News Tonight.” He returned to CBS in 1989 where he stayed another 10 years.

During his news career, Threlkeld covered the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and the Tiananmen Square protests. His last assignment for CBS News was as Moscow correspondent. His wife, Betsy Aaron was CNN’s Moscow correspondent at the time. Richard Threlkeld was 74.

Here’s a Threlkeld report from Nov. 1995 on “CBS Sunday Morning.”

> More: Statement from CBS News colleague Lesley Stahl: “Richard Threlkeld had the kind of name and kind of looks that could’ve made him a reporter in the movies, but unlike a reporter in the movies, he could write his owns scripts. In fact, he was one of our best writers and reporters, someone CBS sent to troubled spots to cover the big stories of the day. Richard was known for his integrity and his decency.”

From ABC News president Ben Sherwood, “We were all greatly saddened to learn the news that Richard Threlkeld died in a car accident earlier this morning. An award winning war correspondent and terrific writer and master story teller, Richard worked at ABC News during the 1980’s covering many momentous events, including Tiananmen Square. An incredibly decent and nice man, Richard was always full of ideas and is remembered for nurturing many younger colleagues in our business. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Betsy and family at this most difficult time.”

From CBS News colleague Bob Simon: “We were together when we covered the biggest story of our lives: the fall of Saigon, April 29, 1975. We were both in one of the last helicopters to leave the American embassy. We were on the same aircraft carrier on that sad trip to the Philippines. Richard was old school in the best sense. He really didn’t give a damn about being on camera. He didn’t do many stand ups. He always figured there was more interesting footage than himself.”