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Veteran CBS Journalist Terry Drinkwater Dead at 53

June 1, 1989 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Terry Drinkwater, an award-winning CBS News correspondent who covered the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst, the eruption of Mount St. Helens and his own battle with cancer, died of the disease Wednesday. He was 53.

″Terry Drinkwater was one of the people who helped invent television news reporting - helped make it what it is,″ anchorman Dan Rather said in a tribute broadcast at the end of the CBS Evening News on Wednesday. ″It won’t be the same without him.″

Drinkwater, who filed his last CBS News report in August 1988, died at his home in Malibu, the network said in a news release.


As a senior correspondent based in Los Angeles, he covered airline disasters, politics and space exploration, and specialized in reporting on energy and environmental issues.

Drinkwater reported frequently from Alaska, covering the 1967 flood in Fairbanks, the opening of the trans-Alaska pipeline in 1977 and on wilderness and development issues.

One of his most notable assignments was a series on cancer treatment, including a segment on his own experience with the disease, which was broadcast in May 1983.

″His reports about his own illness were devoid of self-pity, and characteristically written with elegance and flair,″ said Howard Stringer, president of the CBS Broadcast group. ″His death deprives CBS of one of its most valued craftsmen.″

The series won an Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia University Award, one of the most prestigious in broadcast journalism. He also received three Emmy Awards and a George Foster Peabody Award.

Drinkwater founded two radio stations, KPFK-FM in Los Angeles and WBAI-FM in New York, according to a network release.

He covered many political campaigns, traveling with the press corps during the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Robert Kennedy and Barry Goldwater.

His primary assignment, however, was as a regional correspondent, roaming the West from the Rocky Mountains to Alaska.

He covered nuclear testing in Nevada, the Hearst kidnapping, the Watts riots, the eruption of Mount St. Helens and the PSA and Aeromexico airline disasters in California.

In 1979, in addition to his correspondent duties, Drinkwater served as anchor of the CBS Evening News’ Western Edition. He also anchored and produced a number of specials.


Drinkwater joined CBS in 1963 after working as a reporter at television station KTLA in Los Angeles.

The Denver native graduated from Pomona College in Claremont in 1958, and earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1959.

He is survived by a son, Croft; a daughter, Angela; both of Los Angeles; a sister, Dorsey Stevenson of Santa Monica, and his mother, Helen Drinkwater of Los Angeles. No services were planned.