|From||United States of America|
|Birth||16 December 1941, Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA|
|Residence||New York City, New York, USA|
Lesley Rene Stahl (born December 16, 1941) is an American television journalist.
She has spent most of her career with CBS News, where she began as a producer in 1971. Since 1991, she has reported for CBS's 60 Minutes.
Early life and education
Stahl was born in 1941 to a wealthy Jewish family in Lynn, Massachusetts, and was raised in Swampscott, Massachusetts. She is the daughter of Dorothy J. (née Tishler), and Louis E. Stahl, a food company executive. She attended Wheaton College where she was an honors graduate, majoring in history.
Stahl began her television broadcasting career at Boston's original Channel 5, WHDH-TV, as a producer and on-air reporter. She joined CBS News in 1971, and became a correspondent in 1974. "I was born on my 30th birthday," Stahl would later write about the experience. "Everything up till then was prenatal." Stahl credits her CBS News hire to the Federal Communications Commission's 1972 inclusion of women in its affirmative action mandate: "the television networks were scouring the country for women and blacks with any news experience at all. A friend in New York had called to tell me about a memo floating around CBS News mandating that 'the next reporter we hire will be a woman.'" According to Stahl, Connie Chung and Bernard Shaw were "the two other 'affirmative action babies' in what became known as the Class of '72." Stahl reflected in an interview on her early days at CBS how, on the night of the '72 Nixon-McGovern election returns, she found her on-air studio chair marked with masking tape, not with her name as with her colleagues, but with "Female". Stahl was the mentor of CBS news producer Susan Zirinsky.
Stahl's prominence grew after she covered Watergate. "I found an apartment in the Watergate complex, moved all my stuff from Boston, and didn't miss a day of work. ... June 1972. Most of the reporters in our bureau were on the road, covering the presidential campaign. Thus, I was sent out to cover the arrest of some men who had broken into one of the buildings in the Watergate complex. That CBS let me, the newest hire, hold on to Watergate as an assignment was a measure of how unimportant the story seemed: ... I was the only television reporter covering the early court appearances. When the five Watergate burglars asked for a bail reduction, I got my first scoop. Unlike my competitors, I was able to identify them. The next time the cameraman listened when I said, 'Roll! That's them!' And so CBS was the only network to get pictures of the burglars. I was a hero at the bureau."
She went on to become White House correspondent during the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. At the Republican Convention of 1980, she broke the news on CBS that Reagan's negotiations with ex-President Gerald Ford had broken down and the answer to the question of who would be vice-presidential nominee was: "It's Bush! Yes, it's Bush!" George H. W. Bush had been standing perhaps not far away, largely off by himself, looking discouraged because he was sure he wasn't going to be chosen.
Stahl was the moderator of Face the Nation between September 1983 and May 1991. In addition, she hosted 48 Hours Investigates from 2002 to 2004. In 2002, Stahl made headlines when Al Gore appeared on 60 Minutes and revealed for the first time that he would not run for president again in 2004. When Katie Couric was hired, CBS News asked Stahl to reduce her salary by $500,000 to accommodate Couric's salary, bringing her salary down to $1.8 million. In October 2007 Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, stood up and walked away from an interview with Stahl because she asked him about his relationship with his soon-to-be estranged wife, Cécilia.
In 1998, she appeared on the NBC sitcom Frasier, playing herself in the episode "Desperately Seeking Closure". In 2014, she served as a correspondent for Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary show about climate change.
Stahl has written two books, the first of which, Reporting Live, was published in 1999:
I had decided by August 1989, in my 48th year, that I had already had the best day of my life. ... Then we went to Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey's gorillas in the mist. ... After two and a half hours ... there they were: two baby gorillas frolicking like any four-year-olds. We snapped and stared. We were right there, in their lives, in the middle of their open-air house. And then the silverback, the patriarch, seemed to welcome us, as three females kept grooming him. ... We spent one hour in their world, watching them tumble and wrestle, nurse their babies, swing in the trees, forage for food—vines, leaves, berries— ... so close that a female reached out to touch me. When I went to reciprocate, the guide hit my arm with a stick. "Non, madame. C'est inderdit." ... What I decided that day with the gorillas in Rwanda was that the best day of your life may not have happened yet. No matter what you think.
Her second book, Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting, which chronicles her own experiences with her grandchildren, was published in 2016.
She received a Doctorate of Humane Letters honoris causa from Colgate University in 2008 and a Doctorate of Humane Letters honoris causa from Loyola College in Maryland in 2008.
Lesley Stahl was a founding member in 2008, along with Liz Smith, Mary Wells Lawrence, and Joni Evans, of wowOwow.com, a website for "women over 40" to talk about culture, politics, and gossip. By the end of 2010 it had merged into PureWow, a Web site aimed at younger women.
She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Stahl is on the Board of Selectors of Jefferson Awards for Public Service.
- September 1983–May 1991: Face the Nation moderator
- October 1990–March 1991: America Tonight anchor
- March 1991–present: 60 Minutes correspondent
- 2002–2004: 48 Hours host
In 1977, Stahl married author Aaron Latham; they have a daughter.
- 2004 Gerald Loeb Award for Television Long Form business journalism for "The Jobless Recovery"