Morley Safer, Canadian-born 60 Minutes correspondent, retires at 84

CBS News veteran Morley Safer, who's been a correspondent on 60 Minutes for all but two of the show's 48 seasons, is retiring.

CBS News to mark veteran journalist's career with hour-long special on Sunday

60 Minutes journalist Morley Safer, pictured here in 2012, is retiring from CBS News after more 46 years as a correspondent. (Stephen Chernin/Reuters)

CBS News veteran Morley Safer, who's been a correspondent on 60 Minutes for all but two of the show's 48 seasons, is retiring.

The network said Wednesday it will mark the occasion with an hour-long special on Safer's career Sunday after the regular edition of 60 Minutes.

At 84 years old, he has cut back on work in the past couple of years and has dealt with health issues. His last 60 Minutes report was a profile of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and was broadcast in March. It was the 919th report he's done for the show since he began there in 1970.

Canadian roots

Safer was born in 1931 in Toronto to Anna (Cohn) and Max Safer, the proprietor of a small upholstery business. After briefly attending the University of Western Ontario before dropping out, Safer began his newspaper career in Woodstock, Ont., as a writer for the Sentinel Review and then as a staff reporter at the London Free Press.

Safer took a gamble leaving Canada on a Commonwealth Press Union grant and began work in Oxford, England, for the Mail and Times. In 1955, after a brief stint as an editor and reporter for the Reuters News Agency in London, he returned to his hometown of Toronto. There he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as an editor and subsequently a foreign correspondent.

In early 1958, Morley Safer began producing, and occasionally appeared on CBC's Newsmagazine, the oldest news program in Canada. Safer covered most major European stories of the time, including the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and Pope Paul VI's famous visit to the Holy Land in 1964.

Vietnam War coverage 

In 1965, Safer was recruited to open the CBS News bureau in Saigon.

The war in Vietnam brought Safer great fame and controversy.

In a 1965 piece that revealed U.S. Marines burning the undefended village of Cam Ne, he gained a reputation for journalistic integrity by delivering an uncensored report.

U.S. President Lyndon Johnson was outraged and accused the reporter of being a communist. Unable to find any seditious opinion, Safer was cleared of suspicion and reasoned he "wasn't a communist, just a Canadian."

With files from CBC News