Tom Fenton, of CBS News, retires at 74

December 17, 2004|By David Zurawik

Tom Fenton, the 74-year-old dean of TV foreign correspondents, will retire from CBS News after 34 years effective today, the network announced.

Fenton, who began his journalism career at The Sun, quickly distinguished himself at CBS after joining the network in 1970 through an exclusive interview with hostages seized by the Palestine Liberation Organization. From getting the first television interview in Iran in 1979 with Ayatollah Khomeini, to covering the recent warfare in the Persian Gulf, Fenton's resume is a road map of many major international news stories of the last three decades.

"Tom is equally at home dodging bullets on a battlefield or prowling the corridors of power in London, Moscow or Jerusalem," Andrew Heyward, the president of CBS News, said in a statement yesterday. "And in a world where civility is increasingly a casualty of competitive pressures, Tom holds steady to that most old-fashioned of virtues: He's a true gentleman."

Born in Baltimore, Fenton graduated from the Gilman School and Dartmouth College, then served as an officer in the Navy before joining The Sun in 1961.

Fenton could not be reached yesterday in London.

- David Zurawik

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