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The Boston Globe


James Carroll

Mike Wallace and his blues brothers

MIKE WALLACE died this month at 93, presumably of old age, but his life might have ended years before. One of the most successful newsmen of his generation, he had once felt drawn to suicide; “lower, lower, lower than a snake’s belly’’ was how he described the feeling, while testifying to a Senate committee in 1996 about the need for more federal funding for research into depression.

Obituaries of Wallace noted that he shared a history of depression with two famous friends, the columnist Art Buchwald and the novelist William Styron. Meeting for mutual support, they dubbed themselves “the blues brothers.’’ Each man’s troubles showed that, far from immunizing someone against despondency, both fame and wealth came with grave pressures of their own.

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