Mike Wallace was as good a TV interviewer as there ever was, though some of his work was done for shock value. His passive-aggressive 1979 takedown of Ayatollah Khomeini was one for the ages, but the To Catch a Predator-level of network trash that sprang from his ambush journalism is also part of his legacy. To his credit, Wallace knew he had crossed a line with the candid camera tricks and retreated into what he did best, which was looking into the eyes of other human beings, some of whom had titanic egos, and asking that question.
A legendary non-60 Minutes interview was his exchange with Ray Bradbury the night men landed on the moon:
One of Wallace’s failures was his sanctimonius dismissal of David Frost in 1977, just before the broadcast of the latter’s damning Nixon interviews, an example of checkbook journalism that paid off handsomely: