Winston Burdett; Ex-CBS Journalist, Murrow Colleague

From Staff and Wire Reports

Winston Burdett, whose career as a journalist for CBS spanned four decades, has died at his home. He was 79.

Burdett died Wednesday after a long illness, said his son, Richard.

Burdett, who retired from CBS in 1978, was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and began his career in the 1930s as a film and theater critic for the Brooklyn Eagle. During World War II, he was a stringer for CBS radio and made his first broadcast from Stockholm in 1939.


While in Europe, Burdett was chosen by Edward R. Murrow to help cover World War II for CBS. He broadcast from the Balkans, North Africa and Italy.

“He and his mentor, Edward R. Murrow, had the two best voices ever to grace the airwaves,” “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather said.

During the 1950s, Burdett testified before the U.S. Senate Internal Security subcommittee on his activities as a Communist spy on inconclusive espionage missions in Finland and elsewhere in Europe from 1937 to 1942. He also named other journalists he knew to be or suspected were Communists.

In 1956, he took up residence in Rome as the chief European correspondent for CBS. During the next 22 years, he reported on four papal elections, the activities of dozens of governments and Red Brigade terrorist attacks.

He turned his experiences in Egypt into a book, “Encounters of the Middle East.”

Burdett is survived by his wife, Giorgina, and two children, Richard and Christina.