Deaths elsewhere

December 01, 2009

BERNARD BIRNBAUM, 89

CBS News producer

CBS News producer Bernard Birnbaum, who helped shape the public's view of issues ranging from poverty to the Watergate scandal while working alongside Walter Cronkite and Charles Kuralt, has died.

Mr. Birnbaum died on Thanksgiving Day at Stony Brook University Medical Center in Stony Brook, N.Y., after having a heart attack while visiting relatives nearby, CBS News said in a statement Saturday.

Mr. Birnbaum's CBS career won him seven Emmy Awards and took him to places ranging from Vietnam to the small-town America seen in "On the Road with Charles Kuralt."

He and Mr. Kuralt first joined forces on the acclaimed 1964 documentary "Christmas in Appalachia," about unemployed miners in Kentucky. Released as President Lyndon B. Johnson mobilized his war on poverty, the program spurred $70,000 in unsolicited donations for the families it featured.

As a producer for "The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite" and other programs, Mr. Birnbaum covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War and Watergate in depth.

Mr. Birnbaum joined CBS as a lighting director in 1951 and worked into this decade, producing short documentaries for "Sunday Morning."

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he began learning photography by working at a studio, his daughter Amy Birnbaum said. He served as a U.S. Army Air Forces combat cameraman during World War II and earned a film degree from New York University, CBS News said.

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