CBS News reports the death of Joseph Wershba, who was one of the original producers of “60 Minutes” and was an on-camera reporter for Edward R. Murrow’s “See It Now” broadcasts exposing Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s Communist witch hunt. Wershba was 90.
The veteran journalist joined CBS in 1944 as a radio news writer and rose to News Director at WCBS-AM New York. He became a correspondent for “Hear it Now” on CBS Radio and became a field producer/reporter when it moved to television as “See It Now.”
Wershba’s most famous interview was of Lt. Milo Radulovich, whom the Air Force was attempting due to his family’s alleged ties to the Communist Party. The broadcast on “See It Now” helped to expose and discredit the “Red Scare” promoted by McCarthy. Wershba was played by Robert Downey Jr. when that scene appeared in the 2005 film “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
After retiring from CBS News in 1988, Wershba and his wife, journalist Shirley Wershba, produced documentaries for Walter Cronkite’s production company and the Walt Disney Company. Their secret marriage, 63 years ago after meeting on the overnight shift at CBS, was depicted in the 2005 movie as well. Shirley Wershba survives her husband.