Of all the stories Harry Radliffe produced during a quarter-century stint with “60 Minutes,” the story he did with the late correspondent Bob Simon about the monks and monasteries of Mount Athos was his favorite.
Harry Radliffe, who died recently after a seven-year battle with cancer at the age of 66, was a trailblazer. He was the first African-American to head a CBS news bureau in London and traveled the world producing nearly one hundred stories for “60 Minutes.” His experience in the Middle East was invaluable in interpreting that troubled region in the years after 9/11 and he won a News Emmy for a 2012 report on the Civil War in Syria.
But of all the stories Harry Radcliffe told, it was the story of Mount Athos that made him most proud. There is memorable scene in that “60 Minutes” episode that shows the journalist walking across the courtyard of a monastery as he describes the feeling he got from being at the remote place: “Holiness seems to seep from the very stones.”
Watch the short CBS News tribute video about the Life of Harry Radliffe in which the veteran broadcaster chokes up when he recalls his experience on Mount Athos. A tear-jerker for sure.
Mount Athos has that kind of effect on you. I just finished writing “Hiking the Holy Mountain: Revelations on the Trail between Heaven and Earth,” a book that tells the story of two treks around Mt. Athos, encounters with a colorful cast of Greek monks, and a series of miraculous events that took place on—and off—the Holy Mountain.
Mount Athos is my favorite story, too.
Harry Radliffe will be missed. By his friends, family, colleagues at CBS and all of us who admired his well-told stories. And by the monks of Mount Athos, too. It seems the monks were initially quite reluctant to let the “60 Minutes” crew film their rituals and daily life. When the story aired, the monks were so pleased they called Radliffe, “beloved.”
Beloved. Now that’s a nice way to be remembered. Especially by the monks on Mount Athos.