Some of Mike Wallace's longtime colleagues gathered on Monday's "CBS This Morning" to remember the iconic "60 Minutes" journalist, who died on Saturday at 93.
Wallace's flamboyant, hard-charging interviewing style came to define "60 Minutes" for decades, and, as veterans Morley Safer and Steve Kroft recalled, he was just as outsized a figure behind the scenes.
Safer described him as "irreverent, irascible, competitive beyond belief." He also said that Wallace was always "unsure of himself."
"Mike always felt that he had not paid his dues as a journalist, and I think it's one of the things that made him such a tough guy," he said, adding that Wallace's possible "shame" over his early career doing commercials and game shows "haunted him."
Kroft called him "the first great television news performer." Safer said that people started watching "60 Minutes" in droves to see what Wallace would do.
Host Charlie Rose, who worked with Wallace for many years at CBS, said that his piercing questions never stopped — even at a dinner party.
As the men made clear, though, there were downsides to Wallace's all-consuming persona — such as when he would blatantly steal a story out from under them.
"There were a couple of years there in which we didn't talk to each other," Safer said. "We communicated through other people."
"The retribution would last for six months" if you scooped Wallace, Kroft added.
"Face The Nation" host Bob Schieffer joined the panel. Calling Wallace a "wonderful person," he said that his insecurities about his journalistic talent were unsurprising. "Aren't all the great ones that way?" he asked.
He then recalled a moment in 1976, when Wallace had approvingly noted the depth of his knowledge about a political story.
"I can remember that as if it were yesterday," he said. "Mike Wallace gave me a compliment."
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