Lesley Stahl is one of America’s most honored and experienced broadcast journalists. Her rich career has been marked by political scoops, investigations, surprising features and award-winning foreign reporting, a body of work that won her the Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 2003 for overall excellence in reporting.
She began her 28th season on 60 MINUTES in September 2019, having joined the broadcast as a correspondent in March 1991. She is the author of two best-selling books: Reporting Live, about her work as a White House correspondent, and the more recent Becoming Grandma.
Her recent work at 60 MINUTES includes three interviews with Donald J. Trump, the first when he was the Republican nominee in 2016, the second his first television sit-down as president, and the third at the end of his second year in office.
Nancy Pelosi gave Stahl her first TV interview as speaker of the House in 2007, and again, when she returned as speaker in 2019.
Stahl’s revealing interview with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was the subject of headlines and political talk shows. She earned an Emmy for a shocking 2015 report on how some police recruit vulnerable young people for dangerous jobs as confidential informants. She won her 13th Emmy for her interview with the widow of a slain hostage that offered a rare look inside the technically illegal process of negotiating with terrorists.
In 2013 Stahl gained unprecedented access to the U.S.’s Guantanamo Bay prison facilities for a two-part series honored with an Edward R. Murrow Award. In 2014 she won two Emmys, one for the Guantanamo series and another for an eye-opening story about China’s huge real estate bubble. Later in 2014, she was honored by the International Center for Journalists with its Founders Award for Journalistic Excellence.
Her uplifting feature “Gospel for Teens” was recognized with two Emmy Awards in 2012. That same year, her whistleblower interview with F-22 Raptor pilots provided the first personal accounts of the fighters’ oxygen system troubles, spurring the secretary of defense to take action. Stahl’s interview of a former CIA clandestine services chief about the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on al Qaeda operatives sparked a national debate.
These are just a few examples of the breadth and variety of stories she has covered. Others include two reports from the Middle East in the fall of 2010, “Unfinished Business” about Iraq and “City of David” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which were honored by the Overseas Press Club for Best Interpretation on International Affairs. Her look at the life of a young musical savant won her an Edward R. Murrow Award for feature reporting for her 2008 follow-up on the boy, Rex Lewis-Clack.
Stahl has an impressive portfolio of interviews with CEOs, featuring Larry Page of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Susan Wojcicki of YouTube, Beth Ford of Land O’Lakes and Reed Hastings of Netflix, among others.
She has paid tribute to her 60 MINUTES colleagues in special reports on Mike Wallace, Morley Safer and Bob Simon. She interviewed Steve Kroft on his retirement in 2019.
Prior to joining 60 MINUTES, Stahl served as CBS News White House correspondent – the first woman to hold that job – during the Carter and Reagan presidencies and the first half of George H. W. Bush’s presidency. Her reports appeared frequently on the CBS EVENING NEWS, first with Walter Cronkite, then with Dan Rather.
During much of that time, she also served as moderator of FACE THE NATION, CBS News’ Sunday public-affairs broadcast (September 1983–May 1991). For FACE THE NATION, she interviewed such newsmakers as Margaret Thatcher, Boris Yeltsin, Yasser Arafat and virtually every top U.S. official, including George H. W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle.
She was co-host with Charles Kuralt of “America Tonight,” a nightly CBS News broadcast of interviews and essays (October 1990-March 1991).
Her experiences covering Washington for more than 20 years became the subject of her book Reporting Live (Simon & Schuster, 1999). In it she recalls covering Watergate – from the break-in in 1972 to the impeachment hearings of President Nixon in 1974 – as well as the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan and the 1991 Gulf War. She reported on U.S.-Russian summit meetings and the economic summits of the industrialized countries, as well as the national political conventions and election nights, throughout her career.
Stahl anchored several CBS News documentaries, including “The Politics of Cancer” and “In the Red Blues,” about the budget deficit, both for “CBS Reports.”
She has a collection of awards besides her Emmys. She won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton in 1996 for “Punishing Saddam,” which exposed the plight of Iraqi citizens, mostly children, suffering the effects of the United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
In 1996 Stahl was awarded the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, given by Quinnipiac College, in recognition of her journalistic achievements. In 1990 she was honored with the Dennis Kauff Journalism Award for lifetime achievement in the news profession.
Stahl was born on Dec. 16, 1941, in Swampscott, Mass. She graduated cum laude in 1963 from Wheaton College, where she later served on the board of trustees. She currently serves on the board of the New York City Ballet.
She and her husband, author Aaron Latham, live in New York. They have a daughter, Taylor Latham, and two granddaughters, Jordan and Chloe, the subjects of her book Becoming Grandma: The Joy and Science of the New Grandparenting.