A heartwarming tribute to a former Fox News cameraman and “legend” who passed away this week was posted on the network’s news site on Wednesday.

“I worked with Mario Biasetti, who has just passed away at the age of 96, on and off for much of my years at Fox News. To say he was an institution is an understatement,” wrote Greg Palkot, a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for the Fox News Channel.

Palkot went on to explain:

First of all, when it came to TV, he made “old school” seem new. As a longtime cameraman for CBS News, he was “there at the creation” for so much of what we consider great on-air journalism. He was a “Dashing Dan” with the knack of following stories in the rough, in war zones, in elegant settings… he did it all.  

He won an award for his daring work in Nicaragua in 1959. (His gutsiness probably due to his time in the Army during and after World War II, action that earned him the Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman Badge.)

He went on to say that Biasetti taught him most of what he knows, as well as many others, the inner workings of the news business, especially from a cameraman’s point of view.

“Which brings me to the next great thing about this late icon. He loved to talk. He loved to tell stories. He loved to make friends and contacts and sources,” Palkot noted further. “And… give you mini-histories of his life, news events and the world. Usually, of course, over a few glasses of red wine. And a delicious bowl of pasta. Along with some friendly banter with a pleasant server.”

He noted that Biasetti was a native of Italy but moved to the United States with his family as a child before eventually moving back after the war. While there, he became a de facto “bureau chief” for the Vatican, covering popes, various Catholic functions, and the goings-on at The Vatican.
“I last spoke with Mario a few weeks ago by phone. He had retired in March. He had sent a kind note to me about some reporting I had done. And I am now so happy I rang him back promptly. We talked about old times, the latest news, and planned a next meeting… maybe somewhere near the Spanish Steps,” Palkot wrote.

John Biasetti, his son, also noted: “I suppose that when I think about Dad I remember how in the ‘60s and ’70s, we would always huddle around his very heavy Braun short-wave radio to listen to the BBC World Service, whether at home in Rome around the kitchen table or at the beach in San Felice Circeo, often surrounded by our curious Italian friends. He was a news junkie through and through and by association, so was his family. He carried that radio with him to Afghanistan to cover the Soviet invasion and Katanga to cover the Congo crisis and many other places.”

He added: “Dad never turned down an assignment, was always eager to cover the story, and did so with artistry, courage, compassion and honesty. He is a recipient of the famous Robert Capa Award for a reason.”

“If Dad could hear me today, I would say, ‘Well done, Dad, well done, not too bad for a little boy who came to the U.S. from a small mountain town (Cocullo) in the Abruzzi mountains of Italy.”

Greg Burke, Fox News’ former Rome correspondent, added: “Mario was happiest behind the camera. He brought so much experience – literally decades – that the product he produced was second to none. He was a real stickler for details, and also stubborn as a mule, which meant we were all going to go the extra mile to get it right. And it showed.”

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