Issue Date: April 22, 2008
City: Washington, DC
Birth Of Eric Sevareid
Journalist and author Arnold Eric Sevareid was born on November 26, 1912, in Velva, North Dakota.
Sevareid spent part of his childhood in Minot and Minneapolis, where he graduated from high school. After graduation, he and a friend went on a canoeing expedition sponsored by the Minneapolis Star. He later wrote about these adventures in Canoeing with the Cree (1935).
Sevareid went on to study political science at the University of Minnesota. While still a student there, he worked as a reporter for the Minneapolis Journal. He also studied abroad in London and Paris, working as an editor for the United Press and the Paris Herald Tribune. He was then hired as a CBS foreign correspondent in Paris and became one of “Murrow’s Boys.” It was during this time that he broadcast the Fall of Paris – he was the first to report on the events as German forces captured the city.
Fleeing from France, Sevareid next reported on the Battle of Britain from the bombed-out streets of London. Sevareid continued to cover World War II, reporting on the Italian campaign, and camping with Tito and his Yugoslavian followers. Sevareid was with the first Americans to land in France, and stayed with them all the way to Germany. On his way to Asia to cover the war there, the plane he was on developed engine trouble and became disabled. He and the others onboard had to parachute into a Burmese jungle, behind enemy lines. The US Army Air Forces sent a search and rescue team that was able to locate the group.
After the war, Sevareid’s reporting on the founding of the United Nations and an interview with UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson earned him one of his many journalistic awards. He also worked as CBS’s roving European correspondent from 1959 to 1961. Additionally, he worked as the moderator on several CBS series including Town Meeting of the World, The Great Challenge, Where We Stand, and Years of Crisis.
When television began to replace radio news, Sevareid joined Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News, where he became well known for his insightful analysis. Over the years, he earned Emmy and Peabody Awards for his popular segments. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987. Sevareid had his own shows, such as Conversations with Eric Sevareid, and narrated history series such as Between the Wars. He even appeared as himself in a number movies and televisions shows, including The Right Stuff, The Best Man, Jigsaw Man, Countdown to Looking Glass, and Taxi. He died on July 9, 1992.