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Charles Osgood, Host of ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ Dies at 91

The veteran newsman anchored the show for more than two decades

spinner image Charles Osgood poses for a portrait on the set of CBS's "Sunday Morning"
Charles Osgood on the set of "CBS Sunday Morning" in 1999.
Suzanne Plunkett/AP Photo

While he spent 45 years at CBS news and more than two decades hosting the iconic CBS Sunday Morning show, Charles Osgood’s sign-off line on television was often the same one he used for his longtime radio show: “I’ll see you on the radio.” Osgood hosted the long-running program The Osgood File for nearly 46 years and was heard on stations across America.

Osgood, whose talents spanned news writing, poetry and a love for music, died Tuesday as a result of dementia, his family said. He passed away at his home in New Jersey.

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Charles Kuralt, whom Osgood followed as host of CBS Sunday Morning, which is more of magazine show than the rest of the Sunday morning news lineup, called his successor “one of the last great broadcast writers.” Osgood had already been anchor of the CBS Sunday Night News and CBS Morning News before taking over CBS Sunday Morning when Kuralt retired in 1994.

Osgood was probably best known for his signature bow tie and his use of poetry and music to charm his viewers and lighten up any mood. He was as much at home at the piano playing Christmas carols on the air as he was interviewing such luminaries as master chef Julia Child, painter Andrew Wyeth or singer-songwriter Sting.

“I never took a journalism course or worked for a newspaper or news department of a broadcast operation,” he told Broadcasting magazine in 1985. But Osgood’s successor, the current host of Sunday Morning Jane Pauley, says in a story that watching Osgood work “was a masterclass in communicating.”

Osgood received a slew of broadcasting awards for his work, including four Emmy awards, and in 2017 he received a lifetime achievement Emmy. He also received the coveted George Foster Peabody Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters. He was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1990.

When he retired in 2016 at age 84, Osgood said people had been asking him why he’d kept at it for so long. “It’s just that it’s been such a joy doing it,” Osgood said. “Who wouldn’t want to be the one who gets to introduce these terrific storytellers and the producers and writers and others who put this wonderful show together.”

spinner image Charles Osgood at the CBS Daytime Emmy After Party  in Los Angeles
Charles Osgood at the CBS Daytime Emmy After Party at the Alexandria Ballrooms on May 1, 2016 in Los Angeles.
Greg Doherty/Getty Images

Broadcasting was only one of Osgood’s passions. Besides the piano, he played the organ, banjo, violin and composed music and wrote lyrics. He performed with professional orchestras, including the New York Pops, the Boston Pops and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Born in New York City, Osgood graduated from Fordham University in New York with a degree in economics. After a stint in the U.S. Army as an announcer for its band, Osgood had a series of radio jobs before adding television to his repertoire.

Osgood is survived by his wife of 50 years, five children and a sister and brother. “From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for welcoming him into your homes on Sundays to share stories and to highlight the better parts of humanity,” the family said in a statement. “He’ll see you on the radio.”

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