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CBS Journalist Bob Simon Remembered For 'Unbelievable' Career

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Bob Simon reported from the world's most dangerous and complicated places - from Vietnam to Iraq, where he was held captive in 1991 for more than a month. Last night, the longtime CBS News correspondent died after he was in a car accident in New York City. He was 73 years old. Harry Radliffe was Bob Simon's producer at "60 Minutes" and knew him for more than 30 years. He joins us now.

Thanks so much for being with us, and our condolences.

HARRY RADLIFFE: Thank you very much.

MARTIN: Can you describe what kind of colleague Bob Simon was?

RADLIFFE: A fun colleague, a curious colleague, an aggressive colleague, an enthusiastic colleague. Bob loved doing stories. So, you know, we would spend the days when we weren't working on a specific story discussing the possibilities. And one of the joys of "60 Minutes" is that you've got the entire world to choose from. You can pretty much go wherever you can convince management that there's a good story. And Bob was curious enough that we went everywhere. It's fun to work with a correspondent like that because you know that you have somebody who gives everything to the story.

MARTIN: As I mentioned, Bob Simon and his team were held captive in Iraq during the Persian Gulf War in the '90s. They were held for 40 days and I read that after he was released he did take a couple months, and then he was right back at it. He went back to Iraq reporting on that war. What drove him? I mean, you said he loved a story, but it's a different level to want to return to a war zone where you were held hostage.

RADLIFFE: Well, Bob - yeah, maybe a sane person wouldn't rush back to war zone, but Bob wanted to go where the story was. You've heard the phrase back in the saddle. The thing that would drive Bob craziest was to be sitting around doing nothing. So, sitting around for a couple of months watching good stories being done that he could be doing would've driven him crazy. I'm surprised it took him two months to get back to work, knowing Bob.

MARTIN: I understand his daughter followed in his footsteps.

RADLIFFE: His daughter Tanya Simon is a colleague of mine. I've known Tanya for years. And yeah, she became a journalist. And she's now a producer and she and Bob just finished the piece they were working on, a piece on an Ebola - the difficulty coming up with an Ebola vaccine. They just finished it yesterday. And Bob was leaving the office after making some adjustments in the script last night, when this tragic accident occurred. I mean it's unbelievable - when I think about Bob's career, the variety of stories that Bob covered and was interested in was extraordinary. The idea that somebody who cheated death in the Middle East - and when I say cheated death I don't mean that somebody held a gun to his head but I mean, you're in danger in the wars, and he covered wars in that part of the world and was on the front lines - to die the way he died seems cruel.

MARTIN: CBS producer Harry Radliffe remembering his friend and "60 Minutes" colleague Bob Simon who died last night in a car accident in New York City at the age of 73.

Thanks much for talking with us and remembering your colleague and friend.

RADLIFFE: You're welcome. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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