Wednesday, October 04, 2006

R.W. Apple Dies

R.W. Apple, Jr., a giant figure in journalism for over 40 years, died early this morning of thoracic cancer. He was 71.

Todd Purdham has a wonderfully colorful obit in today's New York Times. Excerpts can't possibly do it justice. Read the whole thing.

Apple's career bridged the rise and fall of most political figures of the last half of the Twentieth century from Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Richard Nixon to George W. Bush and Al Gore, Jr. He covered wars from Vietnam to the Middle East and political campaigns from the 1972 Iowa caucus to the 2000 Florida recount.

In later years he also lived large as a food and travel writer, following a career path and acquiring a girth strikingly similar, in many ways, to that of another paragon of journalism, the late A. J. Leibling.

Apple's last article was about the "gastronomic attractions" of Singapore. It was written from his death bed in Washington D.C. and appeared in last Sunday's Times' Travel Magazine.

WaPo captures his final days:
He was himself to the last," New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller said in a statement to the staff.

"From his sickbed he hammered out his last words to readers ... negotiated details of the menu and music for his memorial service, followed the baseball playoffs and the latest congressional scandal with relish."

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