Esteemed CBS News Journalist Charles Osgood Dies


For 22 years, he was the anchor of CBS Sunday Morning and also served as the host of the  long-running radio vignette The Osgood File. Now, many have paused to pay tribute to Charles Osgood, who has died of dementia at the age of 91.

Osgood spent 45 years at CBS News. He retired in September 2016. Osgood began anchoring CBS Sunday Morning in 1994, taking on a role previously held by the late Charles Kuralt.

As his successor, Osgood earned the Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Morning Program three times.

“For years now people — even friends and family — have been asking me why I keep doing this considering my age,” Osgood said when he retired in 2016 at 84. “It’s just that it’s been such a joy doing it! Who wouldn’t want to be the one who gets to introduce these terrific storytellers and the producers and writers and others who put this wonderful show together.”

Sunday Morning Executive Producer Rand Morrison told CBS News, “He embodied the heart and soul of ‘Sunday Morning.’ His signature bow tie, his poetry … just his presence was special for the audience, and for those of us who worked with him. At the piano, Charlie put our lives to music. Truly, he was one of a kind – in every sense.”

Jane Pauley, who succeeded Osgood as host of Sunday Morning in 2016, said, “Watching him at work was a masterclass in communicating. I’ll still think to myself, ‘How would Charlie say it?’, trying to capture the elusive warmth and intelligence of his voice and delivery. I expect I’ll go on trying. He was one of the best broadcast stylists and one of the last. His style was so natural and unaffected it communicated his authenticity. He connected with people. Watching him  on TV, or listening on the radio, as I did for years, was to feel like you knew him, and he knew you. He brought a unique sensibility, curiosity and his trademark whimsy to ‘Sunday Morning,’ and it endures.”

CBS News President Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews added, “Charles Osgood is one of the legendary journalists who made CBS News what it is today. His commitment to the craft, especially to the art of writing, left an indelible impression on the field. He was a mentor and friend to many. His impact will be felt on CBS News for decades to come.”

Across five decades, Osgood worked on virtually every broadcast within CBS News, including the “CBS Morning News,” the “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather” and the “CBS Sunday Night News.” His tenure hosting “The Osgood File” spanned more than 45 years.

Osgood was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1990. His roots are in radio, and was a host at Fordham University’s WFUV in the early 1950s. From there, he was a classical radio host for the former WGMS-AM & FM in Washington, D.C. From 1963-1967, Osgood was associated with ABC Radio in New York as a general assignment reporter. Then, he shifted to WCBS-AM “NewsRadio 88″ in New York, serving as the all-News radio station’s inaugural morning anchor.

“Charles Osgood was a true icon in the world of broadcasting,” said NAB President/ CEO Curtis LeGeyt. His distinctive voice and unique storytelling ability made him a beloved figure in homes across America, particularly through his work on ‘CBS Sunday Morning.’ As an inductee of the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Charles’ contributions to radio and journalism were extraordinary, leaving an indelible mark on the industry. NAB extends our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the countless listeners and viewers who were touched by his remarkable work. Charles Osgood’s legacy will forever be a beacon of excellence in broadcasting.”

Osgood also had a career beyond the newsroom. According to CBS News, he made his theatrical debut as the narrator of Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who,” the animated feature film adaptation of the beloved children’s book. He also wrote A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House (Hyperion, 2008); Nothing Could Be Finer Than a Crisis That Is Minor in the Morning (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1979); There’s Nothing I Wouldn’t Do if You Would Be My POSSLQ (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1981); Osgood on Speaking: How to Think on Your Feet without Falling on Your Face (William Morrow and Company, 1988); The Osgood Files (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1991); See You on the Radio (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1999) and Defending Baltimore Against Enemy Attack (Hyperion, 2004). Osgood also edited Funny Letters From Famous People (Broadway Books, 2003) and Kilroy Was Here (Hyperion, 2001).

Osgood is survived by his wife of 50 years, the former Jean Crafton; five children (Kathleen Wood Griffis, Kenneth Winston Wood, Anne-E Wood, Emily J. Wood and Jamie Wood); a sister, Mary Ann; and a brother, Ken. His first marriage to Theresa Audette ended in divorce after 16 years.

In a statement, his family said, “Charlie absolutely loved being part of the ‘Sunday Morning’ community. We’ll miss him terribly, but there is comfort in knowing his life was charmed, in large part thanks to you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for welcoming him into your homes on Sundays to share stories, and to highlight the better parts of humanity. He’ll see you on the radio.”