Jump to content
The Education Forum

Death of Sylvan Fox


Paul Rigby
 Share

Recommended Posts

A brief tribute to the recently deceased Sylvan Fox is to be found here:

http://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

Sylvan Fox Dies at 79

Dec 24, 2007: Sylvan Fox, Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times journalist and editor, died on Dec 22 at the age of 79. He was the author of The Unanswered Questions About President Kennedy's Assassination (1965), a fact omitted from his New York Times obituary (see below) and other coverage. The NYT has an online guestbook where tributes may be written.

Details of the single book on the case attributed to Fox can be found, among other places, here. Note the year of publication and the number of pages:

http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/...s+Assassination

ISBN: 94826

Publisher: Award Books

Publication Date: 1965

Pages: 221

Book Type: Paperback

“If you prefer to believe that you have been given the final answers to the assassination, don't read this book. Otherwise, you are in for an unsettling experience...in the highest tradition of journalism,”

Edwyn Silberling, Chief of Organized Crime and Racketeering section of the US State Dept Of Justice under Robert Kennedy.

Americana Resources, however, currently offers what appears to be a follow-up volume published a decade on. Confusingly, a click on the photographic image of the book’s cover discloses the original title, Unanswered Questions; while a look at the number of pages reveals a different number, 237, as opposed to the original’s 221. Am I right in thinking that the title offered below was essentially a reprint of the original, with a brief update in the light of info emerging during Watergate?

http: //amres.com/catalogs/PLKB.asp

Sylvan Fox, "The Answered Questions About President Kennedy's Assassination," (Award Books, 1975, 237pp):

"Shatters the Warren Commission Cover-up...includes the latest revelations on "The CIA and the Cuban Connection."

Anyway, to the three obits I could find. By far the best is the last of the three. Predictably, perhaps, it came from a blogger:

newsday.com/news/obituaries/ny-lifox245513857dec24,0,1370528.story

Newsday.com

Pulitzer-winning journalist Sylvan Fox dies at 79

BY JENNIFER BARRIOS

jennifer.barrios@newsday.com

December 24, 2007

His aunt named him Sylvan Fox, saying that the name would look good in print.

That name appeared in print many times as Fox became an esteemed journalist who earned the field's top prize for his quick and elegant writing.

The former editor at Newsday and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist died on Saturday from complications of pneumonia. Fox was 79.

Yesterday, family and former colleagues remembered him as a dedicated and talented writer, with a knowledge base so vast that he seemed able to pluck nearly any fact from thin air.

Fox was born in Brooklyn on June 2, 1928. He studied piano and composition at the Juilliard School, meeting his future wife there but not earning a degree.

He received a bachelor's degree in philosophy at Brooklyn College, then moved to California, where he earned a master's degree in musicology from U.C. Berkeley.

But it wasn't until he found a reporting job at a small paper in upstate New York that he realized his true calling was journalism, said his wife, Gloria Fox.

"He found it absolutely what he wanted to do and he was very successful at it right from the beginning," she said.

Fox quickly advanced to several different papers in New York before landing a job as a reporter at the now-defunct New York World-Telegram and Sun.

It was as a rewrite man at that paper that he won the most prestigious prize in journalism in 1963, for his work the previous year writing about an airplane crash in Jamaica Bay that killed 95 people.

Fox spent hours taking notes from reporters in the field and updating the story for all seven editions of the paper, his wife said, capping the exhausting day by meeting her for dinner.

"The first thing he said to me was, 'If I ever am going to win a Pulitzer Prize, it would be for what I did today,'" she recalled.

Fox also worked at The New York Times in several positions, including that of bureau chief in wartime Saigon in 1972.

He left for a job at Newsday after "a very stressful time" in Vietnam, his wife said. Fox worked at Newsday first as an editor supervising coverage of Nassau County, and retired as editor of the editorial pages in 1988.

Jim Klurfeld, who took over the job when Fox retired, remembered him as a "consummate journalist."

"He was right to the point, a brilliant mind," Klurfeld said. "Sylvan was a great intellectual. There was no topic he didn't seem to know something about."

Howard Schneider, former editor of Newsday, remembered Fox as a tough editor who took pride in the newspaper.

"He could be imposing, even a stern figure, but he had a wry sense of humor," said Schneider, who was the Queens editor under Fox. "Whenever he was exasperated with my performance, he would say I was the son he wished he never had."

In addition to his wife, Fox is survived by a daughter, Erica Fox of Manhattan.

The funeral will be held today at noon at Gramercy Park Memorial Chapel in Manhattan. Fox will be interred at New Montefiore Cemetery in West Babylon.

Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc.

The NYT version is distinguished, as the Mary Ferrell website notes (see above), by a characteristic piece of censorship:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/23/nyregion...nyt&emc=rss

Sylvan Fox, 79, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist, Dies

By Eric Konigsberg

December 23, 2007

Sylvan Fox, the first “rewrite man” to be singled out for a Pulitzer Prize, died on Saturday at New York University Medical Center. Mr. Fox, who also worked as a reporter and editor for The New York Times, was 79 and lived in Manhattan.

The cause was complications from pneumonia, his wife, Gloria Fox, said.

Mr. Fox was a reporter at The New York World-Telegram & The Sun when, on March 1, 1962, he was part of a team assigned to cover an airplane crash on Long Island that killed all 95 passengers. While his fellow reporters at the paper rushed to the crash site and phoned him with their unprocessed notes, Mr. Fox calmly worked the facts into order and delivered an article within a half-hour of the accident.

He then rewrote the article for seven editions of the paper, adding new details as they came in. Within 90 minutes of the crash, he had produced a 3,000-word article. The Pulitzer was awarded to Mr. Fox and two colleagues in the now-obsolete category of “local story, edition time.”

From 1967 to 1973, Mr. Fox worked as a reporter and editor at The Times.

Mr. Fox grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and was a classically trained pianist. He spent four years at the Juilliard School of Music, but left without a degree because of his decision to change his major from piano to musical composition.

It was at Juilliard that he met the woman who became his wife, Gloria Endleman, a fellow piano student. They married when he was 20 and she was 17. Mr. Fox graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in philosophy, then earned a master’s degree, in musicology, from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Fox worked as a reporter at several newspapers in upstate New York before he came to The World-Telegram as a rewrite man. He left the paper over a salary dispute in 1966 and took a job as the New York Police Department’s deputy commissioner in charge of press relations. But he returned to journalism a year later when Arthur Gelb, The Times’s metropolitan editor, offered him a job.

On Mr. Fox’s first day at the paper, according to Mr. Gelb’s memoir, news broke of a bank robbery in Brooklyn, and Mr. Fox was instructed to “forget about orientation and get to work on the story, which was tailor-made for him,” Mr. Gelb wrote. The following morning’s edition of The Times carried Mr. Fox’s byline on the front page.

Mr. Fox held several other jobs at The Times, including a stint as the Saigon bureau chief in 1973. He then spent 15 years at Newsday, where he was editorial page editor from 1979 to 1988.

Besides his wife, Mr. Fox is survived by a daughter, Erica.

The blogger responsible for the third and final obit, “balev,” includes a link back to a thread on this forum. Plainly we are dealing with a sage and discerning critic:

http://inmyheartblog.wordpress.com/2007/12...st-dies-dec-22/

Sylvan Fox, 79, U.S., journalist, dies, Dec. 22

Posted on December 26, 2007 by balev

Sylvan Fox, 79, a journalist whose beats ranged from Vietnam, to the Kennedy assassination, to a memorable plane crash, and who won a Pulitzer Prize as a newspaper rewrite man, died Saturday, Dec. 22, 2007, of complications from pneumonia.

Fox won his Pulitzer Prize for being part of a team covering an airplane crash on Long Island, New York, in which all 95 passengers were killed. Fox was in the office of the now-defunct World-Telegram & Sun newspaper fielding all the field reporters’ calls and then turning out a complete story 30 minutes after the crash. He kept rewriting the article and turned in a 3,000-word piece within 90 minutes of the event.

He later took his wife out to dinner, she told Long Island’s Newsday, where Fox worked before his retirement.

“The first thing he said to me was, ‘If I ever am going to win a Pulitzer Prize, it would be for what I did today,’” she said.

(In My Heart editor’s note: This incident tells us a few things. First, as a journalist, I can admire the speed with which Fox turned out his prose. Remember - this was in the days of manual typewriters, where editing and rewriting were slower than in today’s computerized world. Plus, despite what must have been a crazy few hours, as the paper kept “replating” the front page with updated details, Fox was able to leave the story and his office after his final deadline. In today’s world, the reporter would likely be up all night updating the paper’s website, writing a blog entry, filing an audio report and then being shipped off to TV talk shows to hype the story.)

But the plane crash was neither the first nor the last story in Fox’s career.

Fox grew up in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated from Tilden H.S. in 1945. He spent four years at the Juilliard School of Music, but left without a degree. He met his future wife, Gloria Endleman, also a piano student, at Juilliard. They married when he was 20 and she was 17.

Fox worked as a reporter at several newspapers in upstate New York after receiving a Master’s in music composition. His first newspaper job convinced him journalism was his calling.

“He found it absolutely what he wanted to do and he was very successful at it right from the beginning,” Gloria Fox told Newsday.

While at the World-Telegram, Fox wrote one of the first books questioning the findings of the Warren Commission inquest into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The book, “The Unanswered Questions About President Kennedy’s Assassination,” is long out of print, but is frequently cited in Kennedy assassination literature.

James Tracy Crown, author of “The Kennedy Literature: A Bibliographical Essay on John F. Kennedy,” wrote:

“The question about the official version of the Dallas slaying raised by Fox’s widely distributed paperback seem to have spurred a number of other skeptics to continue their research. Fox’s critique may have been the result of his job as city editor of the late New York World-Telegram & Sun, a paper where the deep press room doubts about the government version of Dallas kept popping into print much more frequently than in other papers.”

Fox left the struggling World-Telegram in 1966, which folded soon afterward, for a post as New York Police deputy commissioner for press relations, but returned to journalism a year later and began a six-year stint as a reporter and editor at the New York Times that included a tour as Saigon bureau chief in the waning days of the Vietnam War.

While he was in Vietnam, Fox wrote exposes of the South Vietnam’s brutal use of so-called “tiger cages” to house anti-government prisoners.

One website’s review of the tiger cage scandal focused on Fox’s reporting:

A firsthand account of the treatment given prisoners under the Saigon regime that appeared in the New York Times March 2, issue details the conditions and methods of torture used. The information comes from four former prisoners and was secured in an interview conducted by Sylvan Fox. The prisoners have been held in the infamous Con Son Island prison. They were released from that prison on February 16.

The former prisoners, fearing for their lives, refused to have their names published. A 23-year-old Buddhist activist told Fox that he was “beaten and tortured off and on for a whole year” at the national police headquarters in Saigon after his arrest in December, 1967. He described being beaten with a stick “until I vomited blood or until the blood came out of my eyes or ears.” His jailers manacled prisoners’ hands behind their backs and then hung them from the ceilings by the handcuffs until they became unconscious.

The ex-prisoner described the notorious “tiger cages” as small, concrete trenches with bars on top. In these cells, as many as seven prisoners would be squeezed into a space five feet wide, six feet long and six feet deep.

Fox left the Times after his Vietnam assignment, which his wife said was a “very stressful time” for Newsday on Long Island, first as an editor supervising local coverage and then as editorial page editor until his retirement in 1988.

Jim Klurfeld, who took over the job when Fox retired, remembered him as a “consummate journalist,” Newsday reported.

“He was right to the point, a brilliant mind,” Klurfeld said. “Sylvan was a great intellectual. There was no topic he didn’t seem to know something about.”

Howard Schneider, former editor of Newsday, remembered Fox as a tough editor who took pride in the newspaper.

“He could be imposing, even a stern figure, but he had a wry sense of humor,” said Schneider, who was the Queens editor under Fox. “Whenever he was exasperated with my performance, he would say I was the son he wished he never had.”

Besides his wife, Fox is survived by a daughter, Erica.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...