Former CBS journalist Charles Osgood, an award-winning newsman known for his work on radio and television, died Tuesday at his home in New Jersey, CBS News reported. He was 91.
Osgood was the anchor of the network’s venerable “CBS Sunday Morning” program from 1994 to 2016, succeeding original host Charles Kuralt. For decades, he also hosted a daily news commentary series for CBS News Radio called “The Osgood File.”
Osgood said he never liked to think of TV being just for the ratings – it was sharing in something that people love.
“I think that ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ has been successful because the people who watch it don’t tune in to see how much you can shock them or distress them, but they tune in to see what – you know, what would be fascinating, interesting and possibly even inspiring, and that’s what we try to do,” Osgood told CNN in a previous interview.
In his nearly 50-year run at CBS – 22 years on “CBS Sunday Morning” alone – Osgood cemented his legacy by carrying on the tradition of oral storytelling and his predecessor, Kuralt, called him “one of the last great broadcast writers.” Osgood’s published books and poems, his gift for playing music and his signature bowties conjure memories beyond his days in the news business.
‘I will see you on the radio’
The show was the highest-rated Sunday morning news program on TV when Osgood stepped down, with its growth being a marvel when many other shows were shrinking.
While his time on TV brought him great fame, Osgood maintained that he considered himself a radio man. His famous sign-off line was proof of that: “As for me, I will see you on the radio.”
“I never considered myself a television guy who happened to do radio. I was a radio guy who happened to do a television show,” Osgood said.
Osgood took his love of poetry and sometimes delivered the “The Osgood File” in rhyming verse. His unique style earned him the title of poet in residence at CBS News.
“I never took a broadcasting course or a journalism course when I went to school,” Osgood once said. “At Fordham, I majored in economics, so in a way, I sort of learned on the job, and since I don’t know how to do it right I just do it in whatever way I can think of.”
His creative style of storytelling earned Osgood accolades, including five Emmy Awards, one for lifetime achievement in 2017, the George Foster Peabody Award and many more.
A man of many musical talents
Beyond being a man on the air, Osgood had another major passion: music. Osgood, who would sometimes play piano on the show, owned three Steinway pianos, he told audiences on his final “CBS Sunday Morning.”
And he even had a top 40 hit in 1967, “Gallant Men.” It reached No. 29, one spot above “Wild Thing.”
In addition to the piano, Osgood could play the organ, banjo and violin. He also found success as a composer and a lyricist.
He shared the stage, whether at CBS or elsewhere, with The New York Pops, The Boston Pops and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, according to CBS.
This story has been updated with additional information.
Brian Stelter contributed to this story.
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