Clay Felker, the far-sighted editor who founded New York magazine and helped launch the New Journalism of the 1960s, with its novelistic techniques and strong point of view, died Tuesday (July 1, 2008) at his Manhattan home of throat and mouth cancer. He was 82.
By defining the form of the modern city magazine, and by encouraging writers to address modern life in a bold, vividly descriptive style, Mr. Felker was one of the most influential journalists of his time.
His first triumphs came in the mid 1960s, when he was editor of New York, originally the Sunday magazine of the New York Herald Tribune newspaper. He gave writers such as Tom Wolfe and Jimmy Breslin the freedom to roam the city and write as they pleased.
When the newspaper folded in 1967, Mr. Felker used his severance pay to buy the magazine's name and rebuilt New York as a glossy weekly. He assembled a staff that included Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, Nora Ephron, Richard Reeves, Pete Hamill and Gail Sheehy, who became Mr. Felker's third wife. Publishing titan Rupert Murdoch forced Felker out in a hostile takeover in 1977.
Steinem, whose first issue of Ms. magazine was sandwiched inside the pages of New York thanks to Mr. Felker, once said of him, "I can think of no other editor who inspires the same combination of creativity, loyalty, and excitement in writers."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.