Cronkite, The Opera, And Me

cronkite_070910217624_home_cheatAs a boy in the sixties, I of course thought of Walter Cronkite as “the news,” even though in my household we were not allowed to watch television during the week so I never really saw him much. My only direct encounter with him came years later. It was at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, at intermission of God knows what production. I was at the upstairs bar talking with a friend, when the actress Deborah Rush, a friend of my friend, came up. We sipped champagne and had a jolly time for a few minutes, until we were joined by Rush’s husband, Chip, and her father-in-law — could it be? — Walter Cronkite. And did I chat with the newsman about the soprano’s vocal prowess? No way. We talked about the Normandy invasion, which Cronkite had witnessed up close. I asked him if he had been afraid. “Of course,” he said. “The ones who later said they weren’t afraid were lying!”

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