Battle Over Walter Cronkite Nasty Tell-All Book

Jul. 19 2009, Published 4:27 a.m. ET

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Barely a day after legendary newscaster Walter Cronkite died, a battle has broken out over a nasty planned tell-all book.

Terri Schwab, Cronkite's former chef and manager of his Martha's Vineyard home for 10 years is shopping a tome that charges Cronkite suffered from   dementia and was hated by his three children. Schwab said the newsman had a nasty temper and was never around for his three kids, has learned exclusively.

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But Cronkite's chief of staff at CBS, Marlene Adler is boiling over the book and told Jose Lambiet of the Palm Beach Post that the former chef has flipped her lid and called Schwab a "disgrace" and "deeply disturbed." Adler added: "Mr. Cronkite's body isn't even cold. What (Schwab) says about Mr. Cronkite's family is false. They're a loving, united family." has learned exclusively that the book is titled “That’s the Way He Was: My Ten Years with Walter Cronkite.”

Schwab charges that Cronkite was supposed to marry his girlfriend Joanna Simon (sister of singer Carly Simon) in July of 2008 but was talked out of it by people close to him who were afraid they would lose part of his fortune, which is estimated at $30 million. She will also charge that his relationship with his children was strained because he was rarely around when they needed him.

Cronkite died July 17 at age 92. He had been married to Betsy Cronkite for nearly 65 years. She died in 2005.

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Click here for pics of Walter Cronkite through the years.

The book, which is sure to infuriate people who remember Cronkite as the conscience of a generation, describes him as demanding and abusive with a temper so bad he once threw a phone against a wall. has learned the author will try to balance the portrait by saying Cronkite had a fun-loving side that included often pretending to do a strip-tease for guests.

Schwab stopped working for Cronkite in 2006 and has learned she will claim he gave her a glowing recommendation and used to refer to her as a “Cronk-ette.”

That claim is unlikely to defuse the anger of Adler, his former chief of staff, who looked after the venerable newsman even after his wife died. Her anger is sure to be shared by others.

Wow. It really is hard to find good help these days. Sounds like the one thing Walter is guilty of is not screening his employees carefully enough.



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