"He was a brilliant combination of sophistication and street smarts," said colleague Steve Kroft

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 23, 2015 01:30 PM
Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS/Getty

Sunday night, as Hollywood was paying tribute to itself at the Oscars, CBS remembered one of its own brightest stars, veteran newsman Bob Simon, who died in a Manhattan car crash Feb. 11 after spending 47 of his 73 years gracefully and expertly covering stories around the world.

“He was a brilliant combination of sophistication and street smarts who liked to tell people he was just a Jewish kid from the Bronx,” his 60 Minutes colleague Steve Kroft said of Simon.

“He didn’t tell you that he was also Phi Beta Kappa, and had been a Fulbright scholar, or that he came to become television’s quintessential foreign correspondent.”

Kroft called Simon’s an “extraordinary career.”

Over the course of the hour-long tribute, Lesley Stahl introduced three of Simon’s “most memorable stories,” she said. “It wasn’t an easy choice to pick only three, given the hundreds of stories he did, and the range of subjects he took on.”

Scott Pelley said, “Bob Simon was always ready for an adventure – a chance to travel somewhere he’d never seen and tell us all about it. He had a gift for finding the surprising, even the magical, in the most unexpected places.”

Toward the end of the hour, Stahl told viewers, “It wasn’t long after word of Bob Simon’s death that we began to get poignant letters from people who had been in some of Bob’s favorite stories. We heard from all kinds, Israeli leaders, art forgers, nuns, snowboarders, baseball stars – even the Egyptian Jon Stewart.”

See the tribute below.