Safer, who was born in Toronto, began his journalism career as a newspaper reporter in Canada before joining CBS news in 1964. He worked in both London and Saigon, and in August of 1965 filed a report that was among the first to publicly criticize the Vietnam War. President Lyndon Baines Johnson in turn ordered a security check on Safer and told CBS’s president at the time that Safer and his crew had “shat on the American flag.”
In 1970, Safer moved to the United States to join 60 Minutes, then in its third season on the air. He would go on to become the show’s longest-serving correspondent.
While on 60 Minutes, Safer filed 919 reports on a number of topics, including his return to Vietnam in 1989. His reporting was also responsible for the reversal of Lenell Geter’s wrongful conviction in Texas, a move Geter later said saved his life.
Over the course of his career, Safer won 12 Emmys, three Peabody Awards, and a number of journalism-specific honors, including both a Lifetime Achievement Emmy and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards prize for domestic television.
Safer is survived by his wife, Jane Fearer, and his daughter, Sarah Alice Anne Safer.