Thursday, December 18, 2014

R.I.P. Richard C. Hottelet

The last of Edward R. Murrow's protegés died Wednesday morning (17 December 2014) at the age of 97.

Hottelet, as with his fellow "Murrow Boys" and Murrow himself, was known mostly for his work as a correspondent during World War II. I knew him from a different context, though: he was one of the memorable, iconic voices from my childhood. I was a strange child in that I actually enjoyed listening to the local newsradio station, which happened to be a CBS affiliate. Hottelet's was one of the voices that emerged from the speaker seemingly every morning. I was too young to understand anything he said (I knew some of the words but didn't have the context or sophistication to appreciate their meaning), but I knew that he was A Serious Man. He and his fellow stentorian voices (at the moment the only other name I remember is Douglas Edwards) exuded dignity and maturity. They likely contributed to my fierce desire to grow up, to be an adult and to shed the silliness of childhood.

I have to add that the name "Hottelet" fascinated me for years. Knowing him only from radio, I never saw the name spelled out. I puzzled for years as to whether anyone could really have such a "bumpy" name, a name that sounded like a cart rattling over cobblestones.

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