By Dawn Cranfield
Two-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner and New York Times Reporter, Anthony Lewis, Dies at 85
Anthony Lewis, the oft controversial retired New York Times reporter, has died at the age of 85 at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to his daughter, Mia Lewis, her father had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and died of complications of heart and renal failure.
Lewis’ illustrious career bridged more than 50 years, beginning at the Times in 1948 where he worked (with a three-year exception he spent at a Washington daily paper) until his retirement in 2001. He authored a column in the states and in London as the bureau chief called “Abroad at Home” and “At Home Abroad”.
The provocative columnist was often at odds with colleagues and friends over his staunch opinions regarding the First Amendment.
According to Max Frankel, a colleague from the Times’ Washington bureau, “In his later years he turned a little bit against the press, which he loved. But he disagreed with those of us who felt that we couldn’t just trust the courts to defend our freedom.” (news.yahoo.com)
Frankel opined that Lewis felt “the judges were the ultimate protectors of a free press. His idealization of the court, I think, grew mainly out of a court that he worshipped, which was the Warren Court… I’m not sure how enthusiastic he would have been were he still writing now.” (news.yahoo.com)
Lewis won his first Pulitzer Prize while working for the Times in 1955 for defending a Navy civilian falsely accused of being a communist sympathizer. He won his second in 1963 for his reporting on the Supreme Court.
In Lewis’ final column, months after the September 11, 2001, attacks against our nation, he mused, “I am an optimist about America. But how can I maintain that optimism after Vietnam, after the murder of so many who fought for civil rights, after the Red scare and after the abusive tactics planned by government today? I can because we have regretted our mistakes in the past, relearning every time that no ruler can be trusted with arbitrary power. And I believe we will again.” (news.yahoo.com)
Besides being a columnist, Lewis taught at many universities including Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, California, Illinois, Oregon, , and Arizona.
Lewis is survived by a wife, his second, Margaret Marshall, former chief justice of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court; two daughters, Eliza and Mia; son David; and seven grandchildren.