Journalist/author George Crile III dead

May 17, 2006 at 5:49 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, May 17 (UPI) -- Longtime CBS "60 Minutes" and "60 Minutes II" producer and best-selling author George Crile III has died at his New York home at age 61.

Crile died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The journalist became the headline in 1982 when he and Mike Wallace produced "The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception," a documentary that accused Gen. William C. Westmoreland of conspiring with "the highest levels of American intelligence" to mislead the White House and Congress into thinking U.S. troops were winning the war.

Westmoreland eventually withdrew his $120 million libel suit against CBS, which issued a statement saying he had not been "unpatriotic or disloyal in performing his duties as he saw them, the Post said.

Crile's 2003 book, "Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History," was snatched up by actor Tom Hanks, who is playing the lead role in the Universal Studios' film adaptation.

Crile's journalism career included stints at the Gary (Ind.) Post-Tribune, reporting for columnists Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, editing Harper's Magazine and writing for Washington Monthly, New Times, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

He joined CBS News in 1976 and two years later produced the Peabody Award winning documentary, "The Battle for South Africa." He joined "60 Minutes" in 1985.

Crile is survived by his wife, former ABC Entertainment President and now President and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Susan Lyne; four daughters and two sisters.

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