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KCBS-TV newsman Bill Stout dies

By
AURELIO ROJAS

LOS ANGELES -- Veteran television newsman Bill Stout, whose salty commentaries on KCBS-TV earned him several prestigious broadcasting awards and legions of admirers among fellow journalists, died of a heart attack Friday. He was 62.

Stout died at 9:30 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was admitted Thursday evening in the emergency room, hospital spokesman Ron Wise said.

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The former CBS network news correspondent, who had a history of heart problems that had forced him off the air for extended periods in recent years, suffered a cardiac arrest, Wise said.

Stout spent 36 years with CBS and 24 years at the network's Los Angeles affiliate, Channel 2, which was known as KNXT before its call letters were changed to KCBS.

KCBS news director Michael Singer called Stout 'irreplaceable.'

'He represented the best that journalism has to offer,' Singer said. 'He was a professional through and through and a keeper of that little flame that lights up the dark for all of us.'

CBS anchorman Dan Rather, who was a correspondent in Vietnam with Stout and covered several presidential conventions with him, called Stout 'one of the best broadcast journalists of his time.'

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'He was a pioneer in the modern era of broadcast news, a pathfinder and standard-setter, whose best known badge was his integrity,' Rather said in a statement from Malta, where he was covering the Bush-Gorbachev summit.

'He was a reporter with a capital R. A superb interviewer, a swift, sure writer, with a special talent for covering politics,' Rather said.

Don Hewitt, executive director of CBS' top-rated '60 Minutes' news magazine, called Stout, 'A newsman's newsman. They didn't come any better.'

City Councilman Ernani Bernardi said: 'It's a very sad day. He was a reporter of the highest standards. He served the public so well. I'm sad to see him go.'

One of Stout's daughters, Leslie, said: 'He was a gentleman until the day he died. I'm going to miss the guy.'

In Sacramento, Sen. Art Torres, D-Los Angeles, said, 'He will be deeply missed in Southern California.' The Senate Agriculture and Water Resources Committee planned to adjourn in memory of Stout.

The balding, rumpled Stout looked more like the stereotypical newspaperman -- his former line of work -- than a television broadcaster.

He began writing his 'Perspective' commentaries in 1978, delivering them in a curmudgeon-like style popularized by actor Ed Asner in television's 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and later 'Lou Grant.'

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Stout's commentaries won Emmy, Golden Mike and California Associated Press Television and Radio Association awards.

Stout, who was much admired by fellow journalists, also won the Freedom of Information Award from the Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi.

Stout began his career in 1947 as a reporter at the Minneapolis Times and was later a correspondent for the Associated Press. He moved into broadcasting in 1950 at KNX, the CBS-owned radio station in Los Angeles.

He joined Channel 2 in 1953 and spent seven years as a researcher, writer and reporter of the investigative series Special Assignment, then joined KTLA in Los Angeles in 1960.

Stout became a Los Angeles correspondent for CBS News in 1963 and rejoined Channel 2 in 1972 as a reporter and anchor.

Stout also received the Joe Quinn Memorial Award from the Los Angeles Press Club for lifetime achievement in 1987, and the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for career excellence in 1986.

In 1985, Stout received the Distinguished Service Award from the USC School of Journalism. He was also selected for the first-ever 'Professional Journalist Award' from Sigma Delta Chi.

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He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and eight children, Craig Stout, Leslie Stout, Tobias Stout, Peter Black, Susan Black, Amy Peerce and Louis Peerce and Matthew Peerce.

Funeral services were pending.

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