Former New York Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Dies Saturday At Southampton Home At 86 - 27 East

Former New York Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Dies Saturday At Southampton Home At 86

author on Sep 30, 2012

Former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger died on Saturday at his Southampton home following a long illness. He was 86.

Mr. Sulzberger, known as “Punch,” was the publisher of The Times for three decades, from 1963 to 1992, a tenure in which the newspaper won 31 Pulitzer prizes, published the Pentagon Papers and helped to establish significant First Amendment protections for the press, the Associated Press reported.

He died at his Southampton home following a long illness, he family announced on Saturday.

“Punch, the old Marine captain who never backed down from a fight, was an absolutely fierce defender of the freedom of the press,” his son, and current Times publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., said in a statement, according to the AP.

Mr. Sulzberger was the only grandson of Adolph S. Ochs, the son of Bavarian immigrants who took over the Times in 1896, according to the AP. The family retains a controlling interest in the newspaper.

Under Mr. Sulzberger’s direction, the Times started a national edition, bought its first color presses, and introduced new sections covering science, food and entertainment.

His son took over publishing duties in 1992, but the elder Mr. Sulzberger remained chairman of The New York Times Company, until his retirement in 1997, when his son took control of the company. The elder Mr. Sulzberger remained on the Board of Directors until 2002.

Bill Keller—the Times’s executive editor from 2003 to 2011 and a one-time neighbor of Mr. Sulzberger’s in Southampton—worked under the elder Mr. Sulzberger through most of his early career, though the younger Mr. Sulzberger was publisher when he took over the top newsroom position. Of the elder Mr. Sulzberger, he said, “We all thanked our lucky stars that we worked for a man who prized the quality, integrity and independence of our work, and who stood up to anyone who threatened those values, whether big advertisers or powerful politicians.” He added that he passed those values on to his heirs, including Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.

Mr. Sulzberger was born in New York City in 1926, and served in the Marines during World War II and briefly in Korea. He graduated from Columbia College in 1951.

He served as both a director and chairman of the Newspaper Advertising Bureau, American Newspaper Publishers Association and American Press Institute. He was a director of The Associated Press from 1975 to 1984.

He married Barbara Grant in 1948, and the couple had two children, Arthur Jr. and Karen. After a divorce in 1956, Sulzberger married Carol Fox. The couple had a daughter, Cynthia, and Sulzberger adopted Fox’s daughter from a previous marriage, Cathy, according to the AP. He was predeceased by Carol Sulzberger, who died in 1995. In 1996, he married Allison Cowles.

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