Most people still remember the voice and face of Ed Bradley (Edward Bradley). For 26 years he could be seen on the award-winning news show 60 minutes. While in the peak of his career he covered the fall of Saigon, and was also the 1st Black TV correspondent to cover the White House, and he anchored CBS Sunday Night with Ed Bradley.
Bradley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 22, 1941. His parents decided to divorce when he was just at the age of two. He was then raised by his mother, Gladys. His mother took on two jobs to make sure the bills were paid and Bradley got proper schooling. Bradley, who was referred to with the childhood name “Butch Bradley,” was able to see his father, who was in the vending machine business and owned a restaurant in Detroit, in the summertime. When he was 9, his mother enrolled him in the Holy Providence School, an all-black Catholic boarding school run by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament at Cornwells Heights, Pennsylvania.
In 1959 he graduated from Saint Thomas More Catholic Boys High School in West Philadelphia, and then another historically black school, Cheyney State College (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania), where he obtained a degree in education. His first job was teaching sixth grade at the William B. Mann Elementary School in Philadelphia’s Wynnefield community.
Bradley’s started reporting at WDAS-FM during the riots in Philadelphia in the 1960s. In 1967 he landed a full-time job at the CBS-owned New York radio station WCBS. He eventually moved to Washington, D.C., and was promoted to covering the Carter campaign in 1976. He then became CBS News White House correspondent (the first black White House television correspondent) until 1978, when he was invited to move to CBS Reports, where he served as principal correspondent until 1981. During that year Walter Cronkite left as anchor of the CBS Evening News and was replaced by the 60 Minutes correspondent Dan Rather, leaving an opening on the program that was filled by Bradley.
In Bradley’s life-time he received the Peabody, the NABJ Life-Time Achievement Award, 19 Emmys and many others. Bradley was best known by all for his style, voice and was known as the first correspondent to regularly wear an earring on air.
Bradley never had children, but was married to a Haitian-born artist Patricia Blanchet. They met at a museum where Patricia was working as a docent. Despite being 24 years Patricia’s senior Bradley still pursued her. They dated for 10 years before marrying in a private ceremony in Woody Creek, Colorado, where they had a home. Bradley also maintained two homes in New York: one in East Hampton, and the other in New York City. Bradley was 65 when he died complications from lymphocytic leukemia.