Robert J. “Shad” Northshield, a longtime TV news producer and the creator of the iconic program “CBS News Sunday Morning,” died Aug. 21 following a lengthy illness. He was 78.
Northshield produced news and public affairs programs for CBS, NBC and ABC in a career that spanned more than 40 years, winning the highest honors for his work, including DuPont, Peabody and Emmy Awards.
He made his biggest contribution to television when he was called upon to create “Sunday Morning,” the unique program combining news, culture and nature that has been a Sunday landmark for more than two decades.
A published ornithologist, expert wildlife photographer and veteran journalist, Northshield was the perfect man to create the groundbreaking “Sunday Morning.” He developed features for the 90-minute program that were unheard of in broadcast journalism. Perhaps the most indelible mark he left on the program was the closing segment, in which the camera frames a nature scene for almost two minutes without narration.
Northshield began his career in journalism after serving in World War II as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army in Europe, where he was awarded the Purple Heart. He wrote for daily newspapers in his native Chicago before joining CBS Television in New York in 1953 where he rose to producer.
He joined ABC News for a short stint before being hired by NBC News in 1958. There, he spent 17 years producing such programs as the “Today Show” and “The Huntley-Brinkley Report.”
Northshield was hired back by CBS in the sports division in 1977 and soon rejoined the news division as executive producer of the “CBS Morning News.”
He left his role as senior executive producer of “Sunday Morning” in 1987 and worked in special events coverage until he retired in 1995.
Northshield, born and raised in Chicago, lived in Croton-On-Hudson, N.Y., for 45 years.
He is survived by his wife, Jane, four sons and four grandchildren.