Dick Stolley, journalist who landed Zapruder film, dead at 92

(*92*)Dick Stolley, the legendary journalist who landed the Zapruder movie of John F. Kennedy’s assassination for Life journal and who went on to launch People journal, has died.

(*92*)He died on Wednesday at age 92 in a nursing house in Evanston, Ill., in line with associates of his household.

(*92*)Stolley, an editor within the Los Angeles bureau of Life at the time of the assassination, flew into Dallas a couple of hours after Kennedy was shot on Nov. 22, 1963.

(*92*)“It was the single most dramatic moment of my 70 years of journalism,” Stolley instructed “Face the Nation” in 2013 on the fiftieth anniversary of the tragedy, referring to his touchdown of the enduring 8-mm digicam footage that will turn out to be probably the most well-known house film in American historical past and the one movie document of the assassination.

(*92*)Getting his arms on the movie was a mixture of luck and skillful gumshoe reporting — and of the dominance of Life, at the time an oversize shiny and one of many greatest promoting weeklies within the nation.

(*92*)“I got a phone call from a Life freelancer in Dallas named Patsy Swank,” Stolley recalled for Time. “And the news she had was absolutely electrifying. She said that a businessman had taken an 8-mm camera out to Dealey Plaza and photographed the assassination. I said, ‘What’s his name?’ She said, ‘[The reporter who told her the news] didn’t spell it out, but I’ll tell you how he pronounced it. It was Zapruder.’”

(*92*)“I picked up the Dallas phone book and literally ran my finger down the Z’s, and it jumped out at me the name spelled exactly the way Patsy had pronounced it. Zapruder, comma, Abraham.”

(*92*)Stolley mentioned Zapruder had taken the movie to Kodak for in a single day creating and had three copies made. Stolley was the primary reporter to contact Zapruder however not the one one. Zapruder instructed him to come back to his home at 9 a.m. the following morning. Stolley mentioned he confirmed up at 8 a.m.

Abraham Zapruder's camera is seen during a preview of an exhibit devoted to the assassinated US President John F. Kennedy  at the Newseum April 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Newseum, a museum specializing in journalism, is opening the new exhibit about President John F. Kennedy to mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination on November  22, 1963.
Abraham Zapruder’s digicam is seen throughout a preview of an exhibit dedicated to the assassinated US President John F. Kennedy at the Newseum April 11, 2013 in Washington, DC.
AFP through Getty Images

(*92*)When he arrived, Secret Service was there and took two of the copies. Other reporters had caught as much as Zapruder as nicely. Stolley mentioned he all the time questioned why the Secret Service didn’t confiscate all of the copies. He provided Zapruder $150,000 for the reel — to be paid out in yearly installments of $25,000 over a six-year interval.

(*92*)Zapruder mentioned Stolley had been probably the most well mannered of the reporters that contacted him and he additionally trusted Life to be a superb steward. Zapruder had captured 486 frames over 26.6 seconds and after they struck the deal, the photographs have been run body by body in Life.

(*92*)“In terms of public record, I think it is very fortunate I found Mr. Zapruder,” Stolley remarked.

(*92*)Zapruder’s insisted that body 313 — which depicted the best aspect of the president’s head exploding in crimson, from the second sniper shot — be omitted from the unique journal runs.

(*92*)Stolley is a lifelong believer that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman.

President John F. Kennedy's motorcade in Dallas, Texas before his assassination on November 22, 1963.
President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade in Dallas, Texas earlier than his assassination on November 22, 1963.
AP Photo/PRNewsFoto/Newseum, File

(*92*)“I think the film helped impress upon the American people that he was dead,” Stolley says. “A still picture wouldn’t have done that. America had to absorb all that.”

(*92*)Stolley was ultimately promoted to editor of Life after which went on to launch People in 1974, after which served as editorial director of Time, then crucial writer within the US.

(*92*)There was little indication what a juggernaut People would turn out to be. People was initially a black-and-white journal that grew out of a well-liked part of Time. It would grew to become not solely probably the most worthwhile journal in Time, however far and away probably the most worthwhile journal within the nation.

(*92*)He mentioned that his greatest remorse working People was that he didn’t put the demise of Elvis Presley on the duvet, as a result of the journal at the time had a practice of not placing deceased individuals on the duvet.

(*92*)“Dick Stolley was an essential force at LIFE through some highly influential years. His spirit and his sensibility remain part of the active brand and magazine today,” mentioned a spokeswoman for Meredith Corp., which owns the People and Life manufacturers. “Landing the Zapruder movies was a seismic occasion for LIFE, for journalism and for the world. In latest years Dick continued to be a good friend of the model, providing contemporary concepts and cogent recommendation. He cherished LIFE, journalism and the enterprise—and that confirmed. This is a good loss

(*92*)He was inducted into the American Society of Magazines Editors Hall of Fame and was a longtime editorial advisor to Time Inc. after he retired.

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