Veteran network news correspondent Richard Threlkeld, who worked at both CBS and ABC in a long and distinguished career, was killed Friday in a car accident.
The 74-year-old Threlkeld died Friday morning in Amagansett, N.Y., on the east end of Long Island. He was pronounced dead at Southampton Hospital. He lived nearby in East Hampton. CBS announced the sad news Friday afternoon.
Threlkeld did two separate stints at CBS News totaling more than 25 years. He was apparently so well-regarded there that he was hired back for his second stint in 1989, after spending seven years with ABC. Previously, he’d been a fixture of CBS News for 15 years, including a stint co-anchoring the “CBS Morning News” along with Lesley Stahl from 1977 to 1979.
“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,” Stahl said in a statement on Friday. “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,” Stahl added.
Born in Iowa and raised in Illinois, Threlkeld was the kind of gung-ho, swashbuckling network newsman who once typified TV news, securing for himself a front-row seat as a correspondent on countless big stories — presidential campaigns, wars (Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf), the fall of Communism, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the execution of Gary Gilmore and scores of others.
Threlkeld’s last appearance on CBS was in 2004, when he came out of retirement to help commemorate the 25th anniversary of “CBS Sunday Morning.” He had retired in 1998.
Threlkeld leaves his wife of 28 years, Betsy Aaron; a brother, two children, and two grandchildren.