Every Sunday when I was little, my mother watched 60 Minutes. I could not understand the interest in these talking heads. But one guy always seemed to have a zinger or ask a question that just hung in the air. That was Mike Wallace. The guy who rarely took no for an answer. Here's some of why I admired him:
From the AP:
Wallace was a master of the skeptical follow-up question, coaxing his prey with a "forgive me, but ..." or a simple, "come on." He was known as one who did his homework, spending hours preparing for interviews, and alongside the exposes, "60 Minutes" featured insightful talks with celebrities and world leaders.
He was equally tough on public and private behavior. In 1973, with the Watergate scandal growing, he sat with top Nixon aide John Ehrlichman and read a long list of alleged crimes, from money laundering to obstructing justice. "All of this," Wallace noted, "by the law and order administration of Richard Nixon."
The surly Ehrlichman could only respond: "Is there a question in there somewhere?"
Wallace said he didn't think he had an unfair advantage over his interview subjects: "The person I'm interviewing has not been subpoenaed. He's in charge of himself, and he lives with his subject matter every day. All I'm armed with is research."
Mike Wallace was 93.
I have this "appreciations" list of people I intend to write to and let them know how much their work means to my life. Mr. Wallace was on the list but I hadn't gotten to him yet. Better get on that list.