Wide-ranging correspondent for CBS, ABC

January 14, 2012

Richard Threlkeld, a far-ranging correspondent who worked for both CBS News and ABC News during a long career, was pronounced dead Jan. 13 at a hospital in Southampton, N.Y., after a car accident. He was 74 and lived in nearby East Hampton, on Long Island.

According to the East Hampton police, Mr. Threlkeld’s car collided with a propane tanker in Amagansett, N.Y. The driver of the tank truck was not injured, said police, who are investigating the crash.

Mr. Threlkeld spent more than 25 years at CBS News, retiring in 1998.

He was a reporter, anchor and bureau chief. He covered the Persian Gulf War and the Vietnam War, Patty Hearst’s kidnapping and her trial, and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

He worked alongside Lesley Stahl as co-anchor of “The CBS Morning News” from 1977 to ’79, and reported for “CBS Sunday Morning” from its inception in 1979 and for “The CBS Evening News With Dan Rather.”

In 1981, Mr. Threlkeld decided to go to up-and-coming ABC News without fanfare and without telling CBS.

“I don’t like to horse trade. I’m not a horse,” he told the Associated Press at the time. “After I decided ABC was the best place for me to go, it would have been wrong to make a verbal agreement and take it back to CBS to see what they could do.”

At ABC News, he served as a national correspondent for “World News Tonight.” Mr. Threlkeld returned to CBS News in 1989. His final assignment at CBS was as Moscow correspondent.

Richard Threlkeld was born Nov. 30, 1937, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and grew up in Barrington, Ill. He graduated from Ripon College in Wisconsin in 1960 and received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1961.

He originally joined CBS News in 1966 as a producer-editor based in New York.

During his career, he won several Emmy and Overseas Press Club awards and an Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Award. He wrote a book, “Dispatches From the Former Evil Empire,” which was published in 2001 and based on his coverage from Moscow.

His first marriage, to Sharon Adams, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 28 years, Betsy Aaron, a former CBS and CNN correspondent; two daughters from his first marriage; a brother; and two grandchildren.

— Associated Press

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