May 21, 2024
Longtime CBS correspondent Bill Plante has died at age 84, CBS News announced.

Longtime CBS correspondent Bill Plante has died at age 84, CBS News announced.

The reporter, who reportedly died of respiratory failure, retired in 2016 after 52 years of news reporting that saw him cover such historic events as the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. He was perhaps best known for his coverage as a White House correspondent, a position he held from the Reagan administration all the way to the Obama administration.

“He was brilliant, as a reporter and as a human being,” 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, who covered the White House with Plante for 10 years, told CBS News. “There wasn’t anything Bill didn’t excel at in our profession: He was a gifted writer, a first-class deadline maker, and a breaker of major stories. He’ll be remembered for his reports from the White House lawn, his booming voice that presidents always answered, and his kind heart.”

Bill Plante
Bill Plante, CBS News senior White House correspondent, gestures as he speaks at the Newseum in Washington.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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Plante won awards for his reporting on the Vietnam War and the fall of Saigon, the funeral of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and his three-part investigation of the U.S.-Soviet wheat deal in 1972.

He interviewed Martin Luther King Jr. during the famous Selma march and later said that the civil rights movement was the most important event he covered, according to Deadline.

The reporter was known for his blunt questions in his baritone voice, which often drew the ire of his targets. During the Iran-Contra scandal, he asked then-President Ronald Reagan directly, “Did you make a mistake in sending arms to Tehran, sir?” Reagan was taken aback and answered in an irritated tone, “No, and I am not taking any more questions.”

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When he wasn’t reporting, Plante was known to be a great connoisseur of wine. His wine collection was said to be one of the best in Washington, D.C., according to CBS News.

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