Crile, George 1945-2006
Crile, George 1945-2006
(George Crile, III)
See index for CA sketch: Born 1945, in Cleveland, OH; died of pancreatic cancer, May 15, 2006, in New York, NY. Journalist, television producer, and author. Crile was a controversial, award-winning television journalist who was best known for his war coverage. After completing a B.A. in 1968 at Trinity College, he studied at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and the Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. His first journalism job was at the Gary, Indiana, Post-Tribune, where in the 1970s he covered news at the Pentagon. A disagreement with his publisher concerning a story he wanted to write on the city of Gary's tax assessor led Crile to quit the newspaper and work for columnists Jack Anderson and Drew Pearson. In 1973, he was hired as Harper Magazine's Washington editor, a position he held until 1976, when he moved to the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). His first major story with CBS concerned the CIA's secret activities in Cuba. The documentary earned him an American Film Festival Blue Ribbon. This was followed by an Emmy Award and the prestigious Peabody Award for his 1978 documentary The Battle for South Africa. Crile found himself at the center of a controversy after completing his 1982 documentary The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception, which accused U.S. General William Westmoreland of deliberately under-reporting enemy troop numbers in Vietnam in order to gain more public support for the war. General Westmoreland sued CBS for 120 million dollars in 1983 in a case that was eventually settled out of court. Although CBS never officially apologized or changed its report, and no money was awarded, General Westmoreland declared that he won the settlement. Crile joined the staff of the CBS news program 60 Minutes in 1985, and his work there on a story about Soviet nuclear installations earned an Overseas Press Club award and two Edward R. Murrow awards. Crile continued to work on war stories throughout the world into the twenty-first century. His first and only book, Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History (2003), is a best-selling work about the CIA funding of Afghan rebels fighting the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. A film adaptation has been planned for the book, and Crile was working on a sequel at the time of his death.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Chicago Tribune, May 17, 2006, section 2, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times, May 17, 2006, p. B10.
New York Times, May 16, 2006, p. A23.
Washington Post, May 16, 2006, p. B6.