About Walter


1916-1927
  • 1916: Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. is born November 4 at Gray’s Maternity Home in St. Joseph, Mo., the son of Helen Lena (Fritsche) and Dr. Walter Leland Cronkite
  • 1917: The Cronkites moved to Kansas City, Mo. At the age of 7, Cronkite starts his first job, selling Liberty magazine; and at 9 he became a paperboy for The Kansas City Star.
  • 1927: The family moved to Houston. As a teenager, Cronkite works as a copy boy and Cub reporter for the Houston Post.
1935-1949
  • 1935: Takes a position as a newspaper reporter for the Houston Press.
  • 1936: Cronkite is offered a job as a broadcast journalist for KCMO radio, and meets his future wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Maxwell.
  • 1939: Cronkite is on the night desk for United Press in Kansas City when Adolf Hitler, chancellor of Germany, invades Poland.
  • 1940: On March 30, Walter Cronkite marries Betsy Maxwell. The couple eventually would have three children, Nancy Elizabeth, Mary Kathleen “Kathy”, and Walter Leland III “Chip”.
  • 1942: As a war correspondent, he earns his first television appearance with Paramount Films as the first reporter back from the north Africa landings.
  • 1944: As a correspondent for the Eighth Air Force, Cronkite flies over the beach at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, and later is at the Battle of the Bulge with Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army.
  • 1945: Is the UP correspondent for the Nuremberg Trials of the major WWII war criminals.
  • 1948: Hired by Kansas City radio KMBC to open a news bureau and be the Washington correspondent. His first story is Harry S Truman’s presidential inauguration.
1950-1969
  • 1950: Hired by CBS radio, then chosen to deliver the six o’clock newscast at WTOP-TV in Washington.
  • 1951: Serves as anchor for CBS Sunday newscast, “Up to the Minute.”
  • 1952: Leads CBS’s coverage of Democratic and Republican national conventions, continuing through 1980.
  • 1953: Hosts “You Are There” until 1957, a program that re-enacts historical events in news report format.
  • 1960: Serves as CBS’s lead broadcaster for 1960 Winter Olympics, the time the events are televised in the U.S.
  • 1961: Replaces Edward R. Murrow as CBS’s Senior Correspondent.
  • 1962: Becomes anchor of the CBS Evening News April 16.
  • 1963: September 2, CBS doubles the length of the evening news and renames it “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.” On first broadcast, he begins the signoff, “and that’s the way it is” followed by the date. November 22, Walter announces the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in an emotional broadcast, then covers the swearing in of Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • 1968: Reports on location in Vietnam during the war. He covers the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. April 4.
  • 1969: July 16, covers the launch of Apollo 11 and delivers a single line, “Oh, boy,” as the Apollo 11 astronauts set the lunar module down on the surface of the moon.
1970-1989
  • 1972: An Oliver Quayle and Company survey names Cronkite “the most trusted American in public life.”
  • 1972: Months after the Watergate break-in, Cronkite reports on the scandal to raise public awareness. President Richard Nixon is offended by CBS’s coverage and directly attacks Cronkite for broadcasting the report.
  • 1974: Receives what he later calls his most valued Emmy award, for his coverage of the Watergate scandal.
  • 1977: His interviews with Egypt’s President Anwar el-Sadat and Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin are instrumental in bringing Sadat to Jerusalem, which leads to a later peace treaty signing.
  • 1981: Retires after nearly two decades in the CBS Evening News anchor chair March 6. He is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for a U.S. civilian.
  • 1984: Arizona State University names its school of journalism “The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.”
  • 1988: Cronkite agrees to donate his papers to the news media history archive at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.
1990-2009
  • 1993: Forms his own production company and produces several documentaries.
  • 1999: Cronkite is inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians.
  • 2005: Cronkite’s wife, Betsy, passes away March 15 after nearly 65 years of marriage.
  • 2009: July 17, Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. passes away at the age of 92.