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Charles Collingwood (journalist)

Charles Collingwood (June 4, 1917 – October 3, 1985) was an American journalist and war correspondent. He was an early member of Edward R. Murrow's group of reporters known as the "Murrow Boys." He was also among the early ranks of television journalists that included Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid, and Murrow himself.[1]

Charles Collingwood
Charles Collingwood murrow27s boys.jpg
With Jacqueline Kennedy at the White House during the taping of A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy.
Born (1917-06-04)June 4, 1917
Three Rivers, Michigan, U.S.
Died October 3, 1985(1985-10-03) (aged 68)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Education Deep Springs College
Cornell University
Oxford University
Occupation Broadcast journalist
Notable credit(s) CBS News
Spouse(s) Louise Allbritton
(m. 1946; d. 1979)

Tatiana Jolin
(19??; his death 1985)


Early life and careerEdit

Collingwood was born in Three Rivers, Michigan, attended Deep Springs College and graduated from Cornell University. In 1939 he received a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. He covered World War II for United Press in London, and was soon recruited to CBS by Edward R. Murrow. He established himself as an urbane and spontaneously eloquent on-air journalist.

World War IIEdit

1943 portrait of war correspondent Charles Collingwood (Henry Carr)

In 1942 Collingwood was sent to cover the North African Campaign, where he proved his reporting abilities despite being considered "green" as a broadcast journalist.[2]

On D-Day he landed at Utah Beach hours after the first wave of soldiers hit the beaches. Of the CBS reporters accompanying the ground invasion, he recorded a report on June 6 that made it to broadcast two days later.[3] The other CBS correspondents on the ground, Bill Downs and Larry LeSueur, were not able to deliver reports until days later because of trouble setting up mobile transmitters.[2]

When General Omar Bradley told Collingwood that the Free French Resistance was about to rise up and liberate Paris, Collingwood prepared and sent a recording with news of the liberation to CBS in London so it would be ready when the city was actually freed. The recording bore a label that said to hold it back until Paris was actually liberated, but the technician at CBS did not read the label, and immediately aired the recording, on August 22. At that time there were still thousands of German troops in Paris and the resistance fighters who were fighting and dying did not appreciate that the world was told that the liberation of Paris was a fait accompli. Paris was actually liberated three days later on August 25.

Postwar broadcasting careerEdit

After World War II Collingwood remained with CBS and established himself as a television journalist. One of his first roles on television was as host of the CBS documentary series Adventure, produced in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History.[4] He went on to become chief correspondent of CBS and host of its Eyewitness to History series. He was a leading figure in CBS' expansion to include international coverage.

Collingwood accompanied the First Lady of the United States, Jacqueline Kennedy on a televised tour of the White House that she had renovated during the first year of her husband's presidency. The resultant film, A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy, was broadcast on Valentine's Day in 1962. The program was seen by 80 million viewers and broadcast in 50 countries including Russia and China.[5]

He served as substitute anchor during portions of CBS's coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, relieving Walter Cronkite only minutes after Cronkite had announced official confirmation of the President's death.[6]

In the late 1960s, Collingwood was the first U.S. reporter allowed into North Vietnam. The visit was largely the inspiration for Collingwood's 1970 espionage novel, The Defector. The book received critical praise for its merits as a thriller and for its insights into the complexities of the Vietnam War. He later covered the White House and numerous other sites.

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to actress Louise Allbritton from 1946 until her death from cancer in 1979. He later married the Swedish singer Tatiana Angelini-Jolin (Scheremetiew) (1923-2006) and remained married to her until his death.

Collingwood retired in 1982. He died from cancer on October 3, 1985 at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.


  1. ^ Olson, Lynne and Cloud, Stanley W. The Murrow Boys: Pioneers on the Front Lines of Broadcast Journalism. October 31, 1997. Mariner Books. ISBN 0-395-87753-9.
  2. ^ a b Edwards, Bob (2010). Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1118039998. 
  3. ^ Bowman, Martin (2013). Bloody Beaches. Pen and Sword. p. 159. ISBN 1781591784. 
  4. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1976). The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs 1947-1976 (Vol. 1). South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Company. ISBN 0-498-01561-0.
  5. ^ Michael Curtin. "Television". Museum of Broadcast Communications - A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Cronkite, Walter (1997). A Reporter's Life. Random House, Inc. p. 305. ISBN 0-345-41103-X. 

External linksEdit