Bob Simon

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Bob Simon
Bob Simon.jpg
Bob Simon c. 2013
Robert David Simon

(1941-05-29)May 29, 1941
The Bronx, New York, United States
DiedFebruary 11, 2015(2015-02-11) (aged 73)
Manhattan, New York, United States
Cause of deathHead trauma (car crash)
OccupationNews reporter
Years active1969–2015
Television 60 Minutes (1996–2015)
Spouse(s)Françoise Simon
ChildrenTanya Simon

Robert David "Bob" Simon (May 29, 1941 – February 11, 2015) was an American television correspondent for CBS News. During his career, he covered crises, war, and unrest in 67 countries. [1] Simon reported the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, the Israeli-Lebanese Conflict in 1982, and the student protests in China's Tiananmen Square in 1989. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, he and four of his TV crew were captured and imprisoned by Iraq for 40 days. He published a book about the experience titled "Forty Days."

CBS News is the news division of American television and radio service CBS. CBS News television programs include the CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning, news magazine programs CBS Sunday Morning, 60 Minutes, and 48 Hours, and Sunday morning political affairs program Face the Nation. CBS News Radio produces hourly newscasts for hundreds of radio stations, and also oversees CBS News podcasts like The Takeout Podcast. CBS News also operates the 24-hour digital news network CBSN.


He became a regular correspondent for CBS's 60 Minutes in 1996 and, in 1999, for 60 Minutes II . At the time of his death in an auto accident, he served as 60 Minutes senior foreign correspondent. Simon is described as having been "a giant of broadcast journalism" by CBS News President David Rhodes, [2] and is recognized as one of the few journalists who have covered most of the major overseas conflicts since 1969. For his extensive reporting over a 47-year career, he earned more than 40 major awards, including the Overseas Press Club award and 27 Emmy Awards for journalism. [3]

<i>60 Minutes</i> American television newsmagazine program

60 Minutes is an American news magazine and television program broadcast on the CBS television network. Debuting in 1968, the program was created by Don Hewitt, who chose to set it apart from other news programs by using a unique style of reporter-centered investigation. In 2002, 60 Minutes was ranked at No. 6 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and in 2013, it was ranked #24 on TV Guide's 60 Best Series of All Time. The New York Times has called it "one of the most esteemed news magazines on American television".

60 Minutes II is an American weekly primetime news magazine television program that was intended to replicate the "signature style, journalistic quality and integrity" of the original 60 Minutes series.

David Rhodes is the former President of CBS News.

On February 11, 2015, Simon was severely injured in a car accident in Manhattan, New York. He was transported to St. Luke's–Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. [4]

St. Lukes–Roosevelt Hospital Center Hospital in NY, United States

Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai West, the latter formerly known as Mount Sinai Roosevelt, are two hospitals affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Mount Sinai Health System. The combined hospitals are a 1,000-bed, full-service community and tertiary care hospitals serving New York City’s Midtown West, Upper West Side and parts of Harlem.

Early life and education

Simon was born to a Jewish family [5] in The Bronx in New York City. In 1962, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University with a degree in history. [4] From 1964 to 1967, Simon served as an American Foreign Service officer and was a Fulbright Scholar in France and a Woodrow Wilson scholar. From 1969 to 1971, he worked at the CBS News London bureau, and from 1971 to 1977, was based in the London and Saigon bureaus, where he worked as a Vietnam War correspondent. From 1977 to 1981, he was assigned to the CBS News Tel Aviv bureau.

American Jews Ethnic group

American Jews, or Jewish Americans, are Americans who are Jews, whether by religion, ethnicity, or nationality. Today the Jewish community in the United States consists primarily of Ashkenazi Jews, who descend from diaspora Jewish populations of Central and Eastern Europe and comprise about 90-95% of the American Jewish population. Most American Ashkenazim are US-born, with a dwindling number of now-elderly earlier immigrants, as well as some more recent foreign-born immigrants.

The Bronx Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City, in the U.S. state of New York, coterminous with Bronx County, the third-most densely populated county in the United States. It is south of Westchester County; northeast and east of Manhattan, across the Harlem River; and north of Queens, across the East River.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.


Simon began reporting news in 1969, during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. In Vietnam he began reporting the war in 1971; for his reports of Hanoi's Easter Offensive, he won an Overseas Press Club award. He won another as part of the team that covered the final six weeks of U.S. involvement, where he boarded one of the last helicopters to leave in 1975. [3] In subsequent years, he reported from war zones in Grenada, Somalia and Haiti. He was in Poland during martial law, with Israeli troops during the Israel-Lebanon, and in Egypt following the uprisings in 2011. [3]

The Troubles Ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland

The Troubles was an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "irregular war" or "low-level war". The conflict began in the late 1960s and is usually deemed to have ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Although the Troubles primarily took place in Northern Ireland, at times the violence spilled over into parts of the Republic of Ireland, England, and mainland Europe.

Easter Offensive NVA offensive during the Vietnam War

The Easter Offensive, officially known as The 1972 Spring - Summer Offensive by North Vietnam, or Red fiery summer as romanticized in South Vietnamese literature, was a military campaign conducted by the People's Army of Vietnam against the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and the United States military between 30 March and 22 October 1972, during the Vietnam War. This conventional invasion was a radical departure from previous North Vietnamese offensives. The offensive was not designed to win the war outright but to gain as much territory and destroy as many units of the ARVN as possible, to improve the North's negotiating position as the Paris Peace Accords drew towards a conclusion.

Overseas Press Club nonprofit organization in New York, United States

The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) was founded in 1939 in New York City by a group of foreign correspondents. The wire service reporter Carol Weld was a founding member, as was war correspondent Peggy Hull. The club seeks to maintain an international association of journalists working in the United States and abroad, to encourage the highest standards of professional integrity and skill in the reporting of news, to help educate a new generation of journalists, to contribute to the freedom and independence of journalists and the press throughout the world, and to work toward better communication and understanding among people. The organization has approximately 500 members who are media industry leaders.

From 1981 to 1982, Simon spent time in Washington, D.C., as the CBS News State Department correspondent. From 1982 to 1987, Simon served as a New York-based CBS News national correspondent, and in 1987, was named the CBS News Chief Middle Eastern correspondent. [6]

United States Department of State United States federal executive department responsible for foreign affairs

The United States Department of State (DOS), commonly referred to as the State Department, is a federal executive department responsible for carrying out U.S. foreign policy and international relations. Established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department, its duties include advising the U.S. President, administering the nation's diplomatic missions, negotiating treaties and agreements with foreign entities, and representing the U.S. at the United Nations.

During the opening days of the Gulf War in January 1991, Simon and his CBS News team were captured by Iraqi forces and spent 40 days in an Iraqi prison, most of it in solitary confinement. Simon later said that it was a "careless mistake" for him and his crew to have crossed the border, [1] and he chronicled the experience in the book Forty Days. [7]

In 1996, Simon joined 60 Minutes as a correspondent, and he was also a correspondent for seven seasons on 60 Minutes II, from January 1999 to June 2005, after which he became a full-time correspondent. [3] His coverage of foreign events was broadcast on all CBS News shows and earned him more than 40 major awards, including the Overseas Press Club's highest honor for a body of work, the President's Award. [8] Simon also received 27 Emmy Awards, believed to be the most earned by a field journalist. [3]

CBS News President David Rhodes described him as "a giant of broadcast journalism." [2] Similarly, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather said Simon was "one of the best writers ever to work in television journalism." [9] He is described by Rather, who worked with him for 38 years, as having been an "old school" journalist, one of the few well-informed "scholar correspondents," and someone who thrived on challenging and dangerous assignments:

He didn't just witness history, he strived to understand it. Yes, he was fearless when bullets were flying, but he also never blinked when staring down a despot or thug in an interview ... He knew when he was being lied to or toyed with, and rather than shirk from the challenge, he would embrace it and become more determined to expose the truth ... There was no issue he couldn't cover, no story he couldn't tell. [9]

His numerous award-winning stories during his 47-year career took him throughout the world: He won his fourth Peabody Award along with an Emmy Award for covering the world's only all-black symphony in Africa, and won his 27th Emmy for broadcasting details about an orchestra in Paraguay that could only afford to make their instruments out of trash. [3] Simon reported from Pakistan after their earthquakes and later from Japan after the 2011 earthquake in Fukushima, which led to a tsunami and nuclear disaster. He has also won Emmy Awards for his reporting from Vietnam (two awards), Lebanon, Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, India and China. [3]

War zone stories covered by Simon include conflicts in Portugal, Cyprus, the Falkland islands, the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia, Grenada, Somalia and Haiti. [3] After the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Norway, he earned an Emmy for covering the attempt by Mossad, Israel's secret intelligence agency, to avenge the deaths of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. And during the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, he delivered a 30-minute report on Louis Zamperini, an American Olympic runner who survived World War II as a Japanese prisoner of war. For the story, Simon received a Sports Emmy. [3]


On February 11, 2015, Simon died after suffering critical head injuries in a car crash on the West Side Highway of Manhattan, New York City. [2] His for-hire driver had lost control, resulting in a collision with another vehicle. Simon was extracted from the roof of the limo by rescue workers and transported to St. Luke's–Roosevelt Hospital, where he died shortly afterwards. [10]

The for-hire driver, who survived the crash, had his driver's license suspended nine times between 2011 and Simon's death. [11] [12]

Honors and awards

Simon won three Peabody Awards [13] and 27 Emmy Awards, [14] including a 2012 Emmy for his report on the world's only all-black symphony orchestra in Central Africa. He would win yet another Emmy Award with his reporting about an orchestra in Paraguay whose poor members constructed instruments from the trash retrieved from a local landfill. He was a four-time recipient of the Overseas Press Club's highest honor for a body of work, the President's Award, and received the Edward Weintal Prize given by Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy in recognition of distinguished reporting on foreign policy and diplomacy. After his story titled "Shame of Srebrenica," a 60 Minutes II report about genocide during the Bosnian War, he was awarded the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. [3]

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  1. 1 2 Gottlieb, Hooper. Shearer, Benjamin F. ed., Home Front Heroes, Greenwood Publishing (2007) p. 760, ISBN   978-0313334207
  2. 1 2 3 "CBS News correspondent Bob Simon, 1941-2015", CBS News, Feb. 12, 2015
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Bob Simon: 60 Minutes, CBS News correspondent bio., CBS News, June 24, 2014
  4. 1 2 Southall, Ashley (February 11, 2015). "Bob Simon, '60 Minutes' Correspondent, Dies at 73 in Manhattan Car Crash". The New York Times. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  5. "CbS Newsman Bob Simon Tells of Ordeal As Captured Jew". Jewish Telegraph. March 6, 1991.
  6. "Bob Simon". CBS News. June 24, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  7. "A 'Most Searing Experience': Television: Bob Simon relives his 40 days as Iraq's hostage during the Gulf War in new book.", Los Angeles Times , May 11, 1992
  8. "Bob Simon, 1941-2015".
  9. 1 2 Rather, Dan. "Rather: Bob Simon a scholar correspondent", CNN , Feb. 12, 2015
  10. Celona, Larry (February 11, 2015). "Bob Simon of '60 Minutes' killed in car crash". New York Post . Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  11. "Disconcerting details emerge about driver in Bob Simon's fatal accident". Yahoo! News. February 13, 2015.
  12. "Limo company claims Bob Simon is responsible for own death".
  13. 59th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2000.
  14. "NYPD probes car crash that killed Bob Simon, longtime CBS News correspondent". Fox News. Archived from the original on February 12, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2015.