Bill Crawford, 70, who worked for CBS News for 35 years before retiring in 1991 as senior broadcast producer of the "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," died of lymphatic cancer Nov. 19 at Georgetown University Hospital. He lived in Washington.
He began his broadcast career with CBS in 1956 when he joined its radio network. He quickly switched to television news and became a writer and producer for the network's early news anchor, Douglas Edwards.
In 1960, he helped pioneer the network's modern election coverage format. In 1962, he launched the network's first weekend newscast, which aired at 1 p.m.
Then, in 1963, he helped coordinate the network coverage surrounding the assassination and funeral of President John F. Kennedy.
Mr. Crawford was based in Washington from the mid-1960s to mid-1980s. He helped build a legendary news bureau that came to include such reporters as Rather, Roger Mudd, Eric Severeid, Marvin Kalb, Robert Pierpoint and Bob Schieffer.
During his Washington years, Mr. Crawford became the network's lead political field producer, working with Mudd, and helped produce every national political convention from 1968 through 1988. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he also produced a network morning news show and the newsmagazine broadcast "Who's Who." He returned to New York in the mid-1980s.
Upon learning of Mr. Crawford's death, Rather recalled him as someone who "made CBS News a writers' network" and as a brilliant teacher "who taught two generations of correspondents."
Rather also credited Mr. Crawford as one of the crucial people pushing for greater network coverage of the civil rights movement.
Tom Bettag, executive producer of ABC's "Nightline" and a former colleague of Mr. Crawford's, recalled him as "the consummate newsman" who had a passion for the right word.
"He was uncompromising with correspondents no matter how crushing a deadline. There was a difference between `house' and `home,' between `anxious' and `eager,' between `that' and `which,' " Bettag said.
He added that Mr. Crawford "was determined that the "CBS Evening News" set the standard for writing and reporting."
Mr. Crawford, a son of Newsweek journalist Kenneth Crawford, was born in Lansing, Mich. He was a graduate of Beloit College in Wisconsin. From 1951 to 1954, he was a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.
Survivors include his wife, Jean Davenport Crawford of Washington; three children, Margaret Hearst of San Francisco, Annabel Wheeler of New York, and Kenneth Crawford of Washington; a sister; and two granddaughters.