A television news legend who was the last person an accused wrongdoer would want to see on his doorstep, Wallace said he'll still do occasional reports for the show. CBS News President Sean McManus referred to him as a "correspondent emeritus."
Wallace, 87, has often said he'll retire "when my toes turn up.
"Well, they're just beginning to curl a trifle, which means that, as I approach my 88th birthday, it's become apparent to me that my eyes and ears, among other appurtenances, aren't quite what they used to be," he said.
Wallace has said for years that he was cutting back on stories at "60 Minutes," but his competitive instincts made it difficult for him to follow through. It was a significant step last fall when Wallace relinquished his position as the first face viewers saw after the ticking stopwatch on each show. Ed Bradley now has that distinction.
Wallace said that "CBS is not pushing me" and that he'll keep an office at the CBS News headquarters.
"Mike Wallace has been the heart and soul of this broadcast since he and Don (Hewitt) started it almost four decades ago," said Jeff Fager, "60 Minutes" executive producer. "Millions and millions of Americans have tuned in to `60 Minutes' on Sunday night over all those years to see him in action and to find out what questions he would be asking each week."
Wallace has done six stories for "60 Minutes" this season, including a profile of actor Morgan Freeman and a story on Iraq war veterans who had lost their limbs.
Wallace's television career dates back to the late 1940s. He acquired his reputation as a tough interrogator with "Night Beat," a local news show in New York that was a series of one-on-one interviews.
But he was also a game-show host and a commercial pitchman for cigarettes. He became a full-time newsman for CBS in 1963, saying the death of his 19-year-old son, Peter, in an accident made him decide to stick with serious journalism.
With founding executive producer Hewitt, Wallace helped invent the television newsmagazine; the Sunday-night staple was frequently TV's top-rated show. Wallace interviewed hundreds of newsmakers, including Deng Xiaoping, Ayatollah Khomeini, Yasir Arafat, King Hussein and Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Reagan.
He interviewed John Nash, the academician who was the subject of the movie "A Beautiful Mind," and arranged for Louis Farrakhan and the eldest daughter of Malcolm X to be interviewed together.
Some of his news subjects fought back. Retired Gen. William C. Westmoreland sued CBS for a Wallace report on the Vietnam War. Although the case was dropped after a long trial, Wallace said the case brought on a depression that put him in the hospital for more than a week.
Wallace also aired a report with tobacco company whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand in 1995 that became the subject of the movie "The Insider," alleging CBS News caved to pressure from lawyers in delaying the report.
Late last year, Wallace, to promote his memoir, sat for an interview with his son, Chris Wallace, a Fox News Channel anchor. The son asked his father, "Do you hate getting old?"
"I had my hearing aid fixed today so that I could properly hear you," the elder Wallace responded. "I can't see as well. I now have -- this has stopped me from smoking -- a pacemaker, have for about the last 15 years. No, I don't like getting old."