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ANDREW HEYWARD: Well, Mike gave it away. A few minutes with Andy Rooney, who was a longtime friend of Charles Kuralt.

ANDY ROONEY: I resent his being called Andrew, instead of Andy. You know, that's why I never got to be president of anything.
You have to assume when you get up here to speak, after nine other speakers, that no one has spoken before you because, inevitably, most of what you had planned to say has already been said. I'd also like to say to Mike, when you turn 78, you begin to take this kind of an event seriously, too.

I was asked if I'd like to speak, and to say that I'd like to speak isn't exactly it. I think all of us who have spoken today feel the same: we're pleased to be recognized as friends of Charles Kuralt. We are more honored than honoring.

Petie reminded me that on the occasion of Charles's departure from CBS, I said that if he didn't stop smoking, I wouldn't speak at his funeral. I guess I foolishly hoped it would have some effect. I don't know what I meant—certainly I didn't plan to be here.

When the call came saying that Charles had died, I wept. I was on vacation, working in my woodworking shop, and I noticed, just the day before yesterday, that there are little spots of rust on the big steel table of my saw where my tears fell that day.

My sadness was mitigated with a touch of anger. I was angry with Charles in a way. He made us all love him and then he left us without himself. He often did that.

It did not occur to me many years ago, when I first thought about how I'd love to live a long life, that living long would be so sad. I hadn't thought of the friends I'd lose along the way—and I have lost so many now. Many of them have been mentioned today. Harry was such a good friend of Charles's, and their mutual interest was intellect.

If this event were for another one of us today, I'm not sure Charles would be here. He cared about his friends, but there were things he didn't do—he usually had to be somewhere else. He and I had a party for Shad two years ago. He appreciated that Shad had created the style of the best show we ever did regularly. We found about 7s people who were still speaking to Shad. Two days before the party, Charles had bypass surgery. Someone said that he had to choose between bypass surgery and going to a party for Shad—and he chose bypass surgery.

I'll say what I've said before and everyone has said: Charles Kuralt did everything in television news better than anyone else. There has never been anyone as good as he was at everything. It's interesting, too, that the rest of us never resented him for doing it better, as we might have resented someone else.

Charles and I went to 10 or 12 political conventions together and usually set out to do our own feature pieces. When we were out with the camera crew, we often worked together, shoulder to shoulder, in a trailer or wherever we were set up. We'd go out to dinner together. Then the broadcast would go on the air and I'd watch what Charles had done and I'd watch what I had done, and I remember sitting back a dozen times and thinking, "My gosh, he's better than I am." I don't do that with many people.

I have always followed Charles in so many ways. Several years ago, I was sitting in my office and I got a call from group of doctors in Pittsburgh and they wanted me to speak at a convention. The representative said, "Would you speak to our group?" and I said, "I really can't." And he said, "Oh, please, Andy, they really want you. I mean, you're the best," and I said, "I just can't do it." He said, "Andy, it would make our convention if you would speak." I said, "I just can't do it." I said, "Why don't you call Charles Kuralt?" He said, "I just called him and he won't do it either."

It isn't clear to me how Charles will be known or remembered in years to come. It may not seem so today, as we extol his virtues, but it seems quite possible that Charles Kuralt's talent exceeded his reputation and exceeded the talent of some of the legends of our past, people who use words.

Charles Kuralt was no less talented than Boswell, Samuel Pepys, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau, Charles Lamb, even Mark Twain. All their names are in the encyclopedia. Their memories are immortal. Will Charles Kuralt's name be so immortalized? I'm not sure it will be, and this seems wrong. There's something limiting about the medium Charles worked in—television. What he did too quickly went up in smoke and all but disappeared. The museum does a good job, but Bernie Birnbaum is the only person who remembers or knows where some of Charles's pieces are.

In 50 or 100 years, I'm not sure Charles Kuralt will be remembered as some people of lesser talent than his will be, and that's wrong. He's too good to settle for being listed in Who's Who for 1997. I wish I could tell a class of young students, 50 or 100 years from now, how great Charles Kuralt was. I wish I could make them understand that, in his own medium, Charles Kuralt was as good as Mark Twain.

Charles suffered from a restlessness that kept him from fully enjoying his success. He had to keep moving; that's why he left CBS. No matter where he was, he wanted to go someplace else. He loved North Carolina, but I've been in North Carolina with him, and whenever he was there, he wanted to leave.

Karen told me of the letter Charles asked her to send the day before he died to the president of the University of North Carolina. He expressed a desire to be buried on the campus of the University. He is buried there, but I know Charles and I know he won't be content there either.

ANDREW HEYWARD:
Thank you so much to the speakers and to all of you for coming today. We would like all of you—everybody, family, friends, colleagues, members of the public who've come here today—to join us for a reception in the lobby area afterwards. Thanks very much and have a good day.

Additional Tributes

Phil Scheffler | Dan Rather | Shad Northshield
Ed Bradley | Walter Cronkite | Bernie Birnbaum
Linda Mason | Missie Rennie | Mike Wallace
Andy Rooney

USA Today Editorial
Forgiving Charles Kuralt

The Book
Order The Book | Libraries | Booksellers |
About The Book
| Reviews | Author Biography
Preface
| Foreword | Eastern North Carolina

Addendum to Book
Nobel Peace Prize
| Remembering | Sir Charles
Timeline
| A Tribute | CBS Transcripts |
Letters To Ken McClure|
David Brinkley on Charles Kuralt
Kuralt's Remarks At Hugh & Julia Morton's 50th Wedding Anniversary

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Charles Kuralt Videos | Books By/About Charles Kuralt

Charles Kuralt's People

An intellectually stimulating collection of insightful and occasionally poignant commentaries, Charles Kuralt's People is very highly recommended reading for students of the human condition in general, and legions of Charles Kuralt fans in particular. — Midwest Book Review Click for more info.

Hard cover, 386 pages, $25.95 plus $3.95 Priority Mail shipping. (NC residents must add 6 percent sales tax.)


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About Kenilworth Media
Publishers of the first edition of "Remembering Charles Kuralt," now carried by The Globe Pequot Press, Kenilworth Media is a small, Asheville, North Carolina-based publishing firm committed to advancing the life works of Charles Kuralt.