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Legendary Journalist Dies: Pete Hamill Was 85

August 5, 2020

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The iconic writer has now put his pen and pad down.

At a time when too many people write only texts and get bored with more than a few paragraphs of words, we need to be reminded of the ones like Pete Hamill who prove what can be done with solid sentences and why there are treasures galore inside the pages of both newspapers and books.

Legendary journalist and writer Pete Hamill dead at 85 after fall,” by the New York Daily News’ Larry McShane: “Pete Hamill, the Brooklyn-born bard of the five boroughs and eloquent voice of his beloved hometown as both newspaper columnist and best-selling author, died Wednesday morning. He was 85.

The legendary Hamill worked for three city tabloidsserving as editor for both the Daily News and the New York Post during a newspaper career that covered the last 40 years of the 20th century. … The lifelong New Yorker brought a touch of poetry to the tabloids, a sense of grace, wit and empathy amid the daily dose of crime and corruption. The author of more than 20 novels and more than 100 short stories also wrote long pieces on various subjects for The New Yorker, Esquire, Rolling Stone and New York magazine.

Hamill continued writing fiction into the new millennium, with “Tabloid City: A Novel” published in May 2011 and a collection titled “The Christmas Kid: And Other Brooklyn Stories” released a year later. He was working on another book titled “Back to the Old Country,” a reminiscence about the role his native Brooklyn played in his life, at the time of his death.

“Pete Hamill told New York’s story for 60 years,” tweeted Jim Dwyer, another former Daily News columnist now at the Times. “His voice rang loudest & truest when the city was in trouble in the 1970s, like the patriots in Casablanca drowning out the Nazis with La Marseillaise. The goodness of his generous heart never ran low. Thanks for all of it. RIP.”

Hamill’s 1960s contemporaries included some of the best writers of his or any generation: Fellow “New Journalism” acolytes Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese and Norman Mailer. He and Breslin were highlighted last year in the acclaimed HBO documentary “Deadline Artists.”

Hamill recounted writing a heartfelt letter that convinced RFK to run for president. When the shooting started in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, he helped disarm killer Sirhan Sirhan as the mortally wounded Kennedy lay nearby.

“My notes told me later that Kennedy was shot at 12:10, and was carried out of that grubby kitchen at 12:32,” he wrote 40 years later. “It seemed a lot longer.”

He went south to cover Martin Luther King, and stayed home for the last interview with fellow New Yorker John Lennon. He reported on “The Troubles” in his ancestral homeland, and covered wars in Vietnam, Nicaragua and Lebanon.

At a time when too many people write only texts and get bored with more than a few paragraphs of words, we need to be reminded of the ones like Pete Hamill who prove what can be done with solid sentences and why there are treasures galore inside the pages of both newspapers and books.

Legendary journalist and writer Pete Hamill dead at 85 after fall,” by the New York Daily News’ Larry McShane: “Pete Hamill, the Brooklyn-born bard of the five boroughs and eloquent voice of his beloved hometown as both newspaper columnist and best-selling author, died Wednesday morning. He was 85.

The legendary Hamill worked for three city tabloidsserving as editor for both the Daily News and the New York Post during a newspaper career that covered the last 40 years of the 20th century. … The lifelong New Yorker brought a touch of poetry to the tabloids, a sense of grace, wit and empathy amid the daily dose of crime and corruption. The author of more than 20 novels and more than 100 short stories also wrote long pieces on various subjects for The New Yorker, Esquire, Rolling Stone and New York magazine.

Hamill continued writing fiction into the new millennium, with “Tabloid City: A Novel” published in May 2011 and a collection titled “The Christmas Kid: And Other Brooklyn Stories” released a year later. He was working on another book titled “Back to the Old Country,” a reminiscence about the role his native Brooklyn played in his life, at the time of his death.

“Pete Hamill told New York’s story for 60 years,” tweeted Jim Dwyer, another former Daily News columnist now at the Times. “His voice rang loudest & truest when the city was in trouble in the 1970s, like the patriots in Casablanca drowning out the Nazis with La Marseillaise. The goodness of his generous heart never ran low. Thanks for all of it. RIP.”

Hamill’s 1960s contemporaries included some of the best writers of his or any generation: Fellow “New Journalism” acolytes Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese and Norman Mailer. He and Breslin were highlighted last year in the acclaimed HBO documentary “Deadline Artists.”

Hamill recounted writing a heartfelt letter that convinced RFK to run for president. When the shooting started in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, he helped disarm killer Sirhan Sirhan as the mortally wounded Kennedy lay nearby.

“My notes told me later that Kennedy was shot at 12:10, and was carried out of that grubby kitchen at 12:32,” he wrote 40 years later. “It seemed a lot longer.”

He went south to cover Martin Luther King, and stayed home for the last interview with fellow New Yorker John Lennon. He reported on “The Troubles” in his ancestral homeland, and covered wars in Vietnam, Nicaragua and Lebanon.

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