by: Sam Curtis
I could hardly believed what my eyes were seeing when I saw a small line on the Internet announcing Ed Bradley’s departure from this life.
It was already a sad day, for it was the anniversary of my uncle’s death. Ralph Webb departed this earth on November 9, 1979 at the age of 41. This was a disturbing day, because I’m working on the family tree, and I have not been able to locate Ralph’s only child Donna Webb.
After reading the Internet article, I sat back in my chair reminiscing about one of Ed’s 60 Minutes interview. It was late December, 1981. I was home watching Ed’s 60 Minutes interview of Lena Horne.
Ed Bradley’s cool calm demeanor caught Ms. Horne off guard. During the interview, Ms. Horne opened up to Ed. It was obvious to me that his gentleness allowed her to go to a place deep within her soul to conjure up some painful memories that she had long buried. As the tears flowed down Ms. Horne’s face, Ed Bradley took her hand to console her. That one gesture created such a powerful moment. It spoke volumes to me. Without speaking the words, I heard this softly and gently coming from him: “It’s okay Lena, you’re amongst friends Lena, you’re safe Lena, you’re at home.
Ms. Horne was appearing on Broadway in her electrifying one woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. I had purchased tickets for that show a few months before, but had to sell them after my uncle Terry (Ralph’s older brother) passed away I was so touched by this interview, immediately after it ended, I called the Nederlander theater and ordered one ticket. I then called the airlines and booked a flight to New York. The show was worth the trip.
I learned something about Ms. Horne, and entertainers in general from that interview. I learned that they are human beings and we should respect their private moments.
Suddenly, I’m informed that Ed Bradley has succumbed from his bout with leukemia. Leukemia! I didn’t realize that he was ill. It occurred to me as I observed the faces of his colleagues at 60 Minutes, on the evening news, that I was not the lone ranger of this crucial detail. They appeared genuinely surprised, and oh so hurt at the loss of this great journalist.
By keeping his illness private, it appears that Ed Bradley has once again reached out with his hand to console all who knew and loved him, including his television audience. Softly and gently and I can hear him say, Ed’s okay, Ed is amongst friends, Ed is safe, Ed is finally at home.