Bernard Birnbaum: Television producer
Tuesday 01 December 2009
Bernard Birnbaum, who died on 26 November aged 89, was a CBS News producer who helped shape the American public's view of issues ranging from poverty to the Watergate scandal while working alongside Walter Cronkite and Charles Kuralt. His CBS career won him seven Emmy Awards and took him to places ranging from Vietnam to small-town America.
Born in Brooklyn on 18 October 1920, he began learning photography by working at a studio. He served as a US Army Air Corps combat cameraman during the Second World War and earned a film degree from New York University. He joined CBS as a lighting director in 1951 and worked into this decade, producing short documentaries for Sunday Morning.
He and Kuralt first joined forces on the acclaimed 1964 documentary Christmas in Appalachia, about unemployed miners in Kentucky. Released as President Lyndon Johnson mobilised his war on poverty, the programme spurred $70,000 in unsolicited donations for the families it featured.
As a producer for The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and other programmes, Birnbaum covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War and Watergate in depth.
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