That was what a stunned Mo Cashinsaid about Ed Bradley this morning, when she heard he'd died. And she was right. We'll hear that again and again as the day limps on. Ed was one of the good guys.
I had the good fortune to work with him as his writer on a prime time magazine program called Street Stories in the early '90s. I was awed by him. He had this quiet dignity and decency. And stature. You tried to stand a little taller when he came into the room. It was more than mere physical presence. I once cracked to someone that writing for him was like writing for Othello. But it was true. There was a larger-than-life quality to him.
But at the same time, he was remarkably down-to-earth. I remember at one taping, one of the crew marveled at how Ed could tie a perfect necktie without even looking in a mirror. "Well, hell, I've been doing it a while," he said with a smile. He had that funny gap in his teeth that somehow made him seem more appealing: it was an imperfection that he didn't care to change. In a medium where so many were consumed with their looks, it just wasn't that important to him. He loved to talk about sports, jazz, movies. And there was something about him undeniably hip: the ear-ring, the attitude, the mischievous glint in his eye.
And there was a quiet, gentle side to him. He liked plants. His office at 60 Minutes looked like a greenhouse, with plants everywhere. He thrived wherever there was life, and liked to nurture it.
It's one reason, among many, why life around here won't be the same without him.
( Our friends over at Public Eye have a great round-up of Ed Bradley's life and career right here.-- Ed.)