Journalists, Politicians, and Actors Remember Cronkite

Walter Cronkite's extensive reporting not only endeared him to every household in America, but set the standard by which journalism was judged. Andy Rooney, President Obama, Neil Armstrong, and others share their best memories of the newsman.

Louis Lanzano / AP Photo

"It was a very effective moment, and it's been rerun a thousand times," said longtime friend Andy Rooney of CBS about Cronkite’s memorable reporting of John F. Kennedy's assassination. "If Walter had had his choice, he would have suppressed those tears because he hated to reveal himself as an emotional person."

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“Known to friends in the business for his thriftiness (it was said no one had ever seen him pick up a check at lunch) and a liquor-fueled capacity for impromptu Greek dances (or so it was reported by TV Guide), Cronkite was clearly a man who enjoyed the world on which he so faithfully reported, even when the news was cruel, cold, or unbearably sad,” writes Tom Shales in The Washington Post.

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“The viewers could more readily picture Walter Cronkite jumping into a car to cover a 10-alarm fire than they could visualize him doing cerebral commentary on a great summit meeting in Geneva,” David Halberstam wrote in The Powers That Be, his 1979 book about the news media.

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"For decades, Walter Cronkite was the most trusted voice in America. His rich baritone reached millions of living rooms every night, and in an industry of icons, Walter set the standard by which all others have been judged. He was there through wars and riots, marches and milestones, calmly telling us what we needed to know. And through it all, he never lost the integrity he gained growing up in the heartland.” — President Barack Obama

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"He was a jolly and supportive friend. He will be missed by each of us individually who knew him and by the whole country who loved him." – ABC’s Barbara Walters

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"He was the most important voice in our lives for 30 years. And that voice made people reach for the stars. I hate the world without Walter Cronkite.” – George Clooney

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"For a news analyst and reporter of the happenings of the day to be successful, he or she needs three things: accuracy, timeliness, and the trust of the audience. Many are fortunate to have the first two. The trust of the audience must be earned. Walter Cronkite seemed to enjoy the highest of ratings. He had a passion for human space exploration, an enthusiasm that was contagious, and the trust of his audience. He will be missed." — Astronaut Neil Armstrong

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"Walter was a man of integrity at a time when we needed it. At a time when we still need it. A man, a legacy of someone who believes in the First Amendment as being one of the prime directives of democracy, but also of civilization. The idea of speaking out, and speaking directly." — Robin Williams

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"What was so remarkable about it was that he was not only in the midst of so many great stories, he was also the managing editor of CBS News and the managing editor for America. Walter always made us better. He set the bar so high." — Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw