When Mike Wallace joined 60 Minutes at its inception in 1968, he was already 50 years old with a large backlog of experience in broadcasting. In the subsequent years, Wallace was responsible for some of the most dogged interviewing on television, refusing to back down from anyone, whether it was a world leader or pop star in the hot seat, and amassing a small army of Emmy Awards. To honor the man and his legacy, here are a few of Wallace’s many great interviews with people who have shaped the world over the last half-century.
A (relatively) young Wallace interviews television pioneer and The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling for The Mike Wallace Interview, a series that ran from 1957 to 1960 and included in-depth sit-downs with everyone from Kirk Douglas to Eleanor Roosevelt.
Here is Wallace grilling author and Objectivist Ayn Rand.
In 1959, Wallace brought the Nation of Islam, including one of its young leaders Malcolm X, onto the forefront of national discussion with the television documentary The Hate That Hate Produced. Five years later, the following interview took place for CBS.
Here Wallace is in 1979, the first Western journalist to interview Iran’s Ayatolla Khomeini.
Not all of Wallace’s work was political. Here is a 60 Minutes segment on Oprah Winfrey in 1986, right after she had launched her talk show.
And here he is interviewing Tina Turner in 2000.
Finally, here is Wallace in the other chair, giving an archive interview on the history of 60 Minutes, a fitting summation of a long career.