Television news director Arthur Bloom, who helped found the newsmagazine "60 Minutes" and donated his stopwatch to create the show's iconic ticking image, died Saturday of cancer. He was 63.
Bloom, who joined CBS in its mailroom when he was 18, died at his home in Grandview-on-Hudson, N.Y., the network said. Besides his 38 years with "60 Minutes," Bloom helped train Dan Rather to succeed Walter Cronkite in the CBS News anchor chair in 1981.
Rather and Cronkite hailed Bloom's work.
"Artie Bloom was the most accomplished director of television news programs in history," Rather said. "The record shows he was the best."
Bloom's talent and humor "were the very spirit of CBS News," Cronkite said.
During his 45-year career at CBS, Bloom was instrumental in the network's political coverage. He directed work on conventions for both parties from 1976 to 1988, the Ford-Carter and Reagan-Mondale presidential debates, and every election night from 1974-90.
In 1995, he received the Directors Guild of America's first Lifetime Achievement Award.
"60 Minutes" has captured 78 Emmy Awards and 11 Peabody Awards.
Bloom was there for the launch of "60 Minutes" in 1968, and the first of the show's ticking stopwatches was Bloom's own. His film of the Minerva timepiece was first used to introduce the show's third edition, according to the network.
"Artie had an eye for what worked visually and what didn't," said "60 Minutes" creator Don Hewitt. "He was invaluable to me."
The Manhattan native began directing at age 21 with WCBS-TV, the local New York station. In 1966, he joined CBS news and two years later was directing "60 Minutes."
Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Marla; a son, Scott; a daughter, Jill Bloom Butterman; a brother, Richard; and four grandchildren.