Bill Leonard (journalist)

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Bill Leonard
Born April 9, 1916
Manhattan, New York, New York, U.S.
Died October 23, 1994 (1994-10-24) (aged 78)
Laurel, Maryland, U.S.
Cause of death Stroke
Nationality American
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Occupation Journalist and television executive
Children Chris Wallace (stepson)

William Augustus "Bill" Leonard (April 9, 1916 – October 23, 1994) was an American journalist and television executive who served as President of CBS News from 1979 to 1982.

Life and career[edit]

Leonard was born in Manhattan, New York City, New York, the son of Ruth (Leonard) and James Garfield Moses, a lawyer.[1] He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1937, where he worked for the student newspaper, The Dartmouth.[2] He served in the United States Navy until 1945, when he took a position at CBS as the radio anchorman for This Is New York and its subsequent television show Eye on New York.

He was chosen as a floor reporter for the 1952, 1956 and 1960 political conventions. After Leonard was promoted to correspondent, Fred W. Friendly chose him for the CBS Reports team. He led CBS' new news election unit from 1961 to 1965 and helped develop exit polling. He then held a series of management positions at CBS News, rising to President in 1979 until his 1982 retirement. As president, he chose 60 Minutes correspondent Dan Rather to succeed Walter Cronkite as anchor of the CBS Evening News in 1981. He also created Sunday Morning. Leonard and Chairman William S. Paley were the only two employees allowed to stay on past CBS' mandatory retirement age.[3] He was the stepfather of journalist Chris Wallace.

Leonard died from a stroke in Laurel, Maryland.[4]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "William A. Leonard; TV News Innovator - Los Angeles Times". September 18, 2002. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ Leonard, Bill (1987). In the Storm of the Eye: A Lifetime at CBS Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-399-13255-1
  4. ^ Kennedy, Randy (October 24, 1994). William Leonard, 78, Former Head of CBS News. New York Times

External links[edit]