Don Hewitt was every reporter’s dream — a veritable quote machine.
The irrepressible “60 Minutes” creator, who lost his battle against pancreatic cancer Wednesday at age 86, had absolute opinions about absolutely everything, and he delivered them with evangelical passion.
Hewitt wasn’t always right, but he was always certain. What else would you expect from a guy whom 91-year-old Mike Wallace liked to call “kid?”
As I looked over the many interviews I did with Hewitt over 25 years, his statements about age and death were particularly resonant. Here are some of them:
“Will I die at my desk? I’m not going to die. This [news] release has to be my obituary, because there’s never going to be another one.”
-January 2003, on CBS’s announcement of his new 10-year contract.
“I like it that Mike calls me a kid. I am a kid. I’ve never grown up. I’d like to believe I have genetic wiring that keeps me young. There was a great line from Satchel Paige: ‘How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?’ I’d be 32.”
-January 2003, same interview.
“I’m going to stay at CBS until I go gaga. They signed me forever.”
-January 2004 interview.
More after the jump.
“Jon Stewart would be a terrific ["60 Minutes"] commentator if anything happened to Andy Rooney. Andy’s going to outlive me, but if he weren’t, Jon Stewart’s got a finger on the pulse. Andy has a finger on the pulse, but it comes from a different time, a different place.”
-January 2004, same interview.
“I don’t know where I get the energy. Intellectually, I’m a dud. I’m not as well-read or well-educated as I should be. I run on my own steam. I never smoked pot. I don’t drink. I’m self-intoxicated.”
-May 2004 interview.
“I don’t expect to have any declining years. I’d like to just go, at some point. To me, death is like turning off a light switch. Ffffft, it’s over.”
-July 2000 interview.
Hewitt couldn’t sit still. Everybody knew that. He got up early, sometimes showing up at the office at 6:30 a.m.
“If there were a pool hall open or a good floating crap game somewhere in town, I’d go there,” he told me many years ago.
Knowing Don Hewitt, he’s rolling sevens.