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Bruno Wassertheil, 68; CBS Radio Reporter Covered Israel for Years

March 11, 2004|From Associated Press

Bruno Wassertheil, who was CBS News' chief radio correspondent in Israel through much of the 1970s and 1980s, has died. He was 68.

Wassertheil died March 3 of cancer in his Palo Alto home.

During his career, Wassertheil received two Overseas Press Club awards and spent 14 years with CBS News in Israel, from 1970 to 1978 and 1980 to 1986. Wassertheil made 20,000 network broadcasts and interviewed such prominent Middle East figures as Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon.

Colleagues, fans and friends remember Wassertheil for two things: his expertise on the Middle East and his resonant, authoritative voice.

"It was ... a distinctive voice, a deep voice," said Charles Wolfson, State Department reporter for CBS News and an old friend and colleague. Wolfson compared Wassertheil's voice to that of Walter Cronkite.

Wassertheil, Wolfson added, "had fans and regular listeners all over the world."

Born in Katowice, Poland, Wassertheil was on a steamship with his family heading for the United States to visit the 1939 World's Fair when Hitler's troops invaded Poland on Sept. 1.

The family settled in New York and never returned to Poland.

Wassertheil graduated from City College of New York in 1957 and served in the U.S. Army for three years, stationed in Puerto Rico. He began working for the Associated Press in 1967 and joined CBS News in 1970.

Wassertheil is survived by two children, Ariel and Ilana Wassertheil, and two grandchildren, all of whom live in Israel, and his companion, Estelle Macy.

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