Richard Wagner, longtime CBS News correspondent, dies at 85

Richard Wagner, a former CBS News correspondent and US Army veteran, died at age 85.

Wagner’s wife Donna Lewis-Wagner confirmed the news of his death to Deadline, revealing that he died Tuesday at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. She did not disclose the cause of death.

The much-loved news reporter — whose distinguished career spanned more than three decades — was best known for his coverage of conflicts around the world, such as the Vietnam War.

Wagner did several assignments in Saigon in 1964 during his stint with CBS Evening News from the 1960s to the 1980s.

He also covered the Salvadoran Civil War in 1984, collaborating with the late war photographer John Hoagland, as well as the landmark release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa in 1990, according to records. Wagner also reported on South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy.

His impressive career as a journalist earned him the Overseas Press Club Ben Grauer Award in 1987.

It wasn’t just foreign reporting that Wagner was known for, he also covered major national news stories, including the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident, as well as NASA’s catastrophic Challenger explosion in 1986.

Wagner anchored CBS Evening News along with Walter Cronkite and Dan Liever.
Wagner anchored CBS Evening News along with Walter Cronkite and Dan Liever.
CBS News

Before retiring from CBS News in 1993, Wagner was the outlet’s first health and science correspondent, Deadline reported. He also regularly anchored the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and Dan Liever.

Speaking on the “Captured Culture” podcast in 2018, Wagner said reporting from a war zone was “very scary.”

“I remember a situation where we were stuck, couldn’t move, and then the barrage lifted almost as quickly as it had started, and I wanted to get up quickly now that it was safe,” he said in the podcast.

“I got up . . . I noticed my hand was shaking so much I couldn’t really do it. It hit me so bad that my hand was shaking so much that I couldn’t do what I had to do.”

Wagner leaves behind his wife and their daughter Kerry Wagner.

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