Ed Bradley spent his career shining a light on others. On Tuesday, friends and family recalled the late newsman’s own life at a three-hour memorial service at Riverside Church in New York City.
“He was, after all, the jazz master,” former president Bill Clinton told the crowd, which numbered several thousand. “He always played in the key of reason, and his songs were full of the notes of facts, but he knew to make the most of the music you have to improvise.”
Bradley died Nov. 9 at age 65 from complications of leukemia. He spent 26 seasons on 60 Minutes, the CBS news-magazine program.
Fittingly, the service was filled with music, particularly the New Orleans jazz that Bradley loved. Performers included Wynton Marsalis, Irma Thomas, Jimmy Buffett, Allen Toussaint and Aaron Neville.
Bradley’s 60 Minutes colleagues Mike Wallace, Andy Rooney, Lesley Stahl and Steve Kroft were in attendance, as were retired anchors Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather and other stars of the news industry, including Brian Williams, Meredith Vieira and Diane Sawyer.
They were joined by Bill Cosby, Paul Simon, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Leslie Moonves, Richard Parsons and Howard Stern, among many others.
“He came on the scene in one of the most exciting times in American history, and he embraced what Oliver Wendell Holmes called ‘the action and passion of his times,'” journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault told the crowd.
Hunter-Gault had traveled from her home in Africa to be with Bradley in his last days.
“If you want to follow in Ed Bradley’s footsteps, you can’t sit behind a desk looking good,” she said. “You’ve got to put on your traveling shoes. You’ve got to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.”