Obits

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Carl Spielvogel

Carl Spielvogel, who rose from humble beginnings in Brooklyn to forge formidable careers in advertising as vice chairman of the Interpublic Group of Companies, one of the world’s largest ad conglomerates, and journalism, as the author of a six-day-a-week column at The New York Times, died on April 21 at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 92.

In addition to his business accomplishments, Spielvogel served for eight months in 2000 and 2001 as ambassador to Slovakia during the Clinton Administration. At the time of his appointment, he was running his own global investment and marketing company, Carl Spielvogel Enterprises, which he launched in 1997 and ran until 2009.

One aspect of his job many journalists might envy was that he had no editor. Another was that he was the sole arbiter of which items made it to The Big Zipper.

A reserved but amiable man, Spielvogel kept himself fit and was an avid tennis player into his 80s, often displaying the same kind of competitive fire on the court that he showed in board rooms. He attended public schools in Brooklyn, graduating with honors from Boys High School before taking courses at night at the City College School of Business, now known as the Baruch School of Business. He was hired as a copy boy by The Times in 1950, was awarded his BBA degree in 1953, then left The Times for two years in the U.S. Army. Following his discharge in 1955, Spielvogel returned to The Times as a financial news reporter and two years later he was named advertising columnist, a position that made his work must-reading in the advertising and marketing business and turned Spielvogel into a media celebrity.

In 1960, Spielvogel followed a path taken by many journalists, leaving his columns and The Times for the world of public relations. He was hired as a PR man by Marion Harper Jr., a well-known ad man who was president of McCann-Erickson and who later built Interpublic, McCann’s parent company. In 1972, after rising through the executive ranks, Spielvogel became Interpublic’s vice chairman, resigning from the company in 1979 when he was passed over for the job of chairman.

What followed was the extraordinary partnership between Spielvogel and a former colleague named Bill Backer, who had recently resigned as vice chairman of McCann-Erickson, Interpublic’s largest agency and one of Spielvogel’s employers early in his career. In short order, Backer & Spielvogel was in business. It would be something new in the ad game: a superagency, but one in miniature. It went on to achieve stunning success with blue-chip clients such as Miller beer, Coca-Cola and Campbell’s Soup and it became legendary on Madison Avenue. It was eventually sold, going to Saatchi & Saatchi in 1986 for more than $100 million.

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Mike Santangelo

Mike Santangelo, who worked for Fox News for 25 years and had one of the most unusual writing assignments in the news business, died on April 12 after suffering complications from a fall. He was 80 and died at NYU Langone Hospital-Long Island in Mineola.

Santangelo’s words — summaries of the day’s top stories — appeared on an LED display he called The Big Zipper. At 163 feet in length and 28 inches high, it runs across the facade of Fox News headquarters at 1211 Sixth Avenue, a 45-story building at the corner of 48th Street. Each item Santangelo wrote was roughly no more than 50 words — or, as described in a New York Times profile in 2005, no longer than it might take someone to walk a city block. Santangelo turned out about 35 items a day.

One aspect of his job many journalists might envy was that he had no editor. Another was that he was the sole arbiter of which items made it to The Big Zipper.

As befits a fellow who favored loud ties, Hush Puppies and linen suits, Santangelo’s nomadic news items were often preceded by lead-ins that were as colorful, clever and catchy as any headline splashed across the front page of any tabloid. News of a volatile day on Wall Street, for example, might be headlined “Dow But Not Out.” The lead-in to story of a four-star general who was fired: “Ain’t That a Kick in the Brass.”

Before joining Fox in 1996, Santangelo practiced more conventional forms of journalism. He was a reporter at The New York Daily News for 20 years, leaving in 1990 as a casualty of a newspaper strike. For the next six years, he worked for Reuters, UPI and Newsday, where he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island.

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William Condie

William Condie was a veteran reporter and editor who started his career as a newspaperman in his native Glasgow in 1955, then served on publications in Buenos Aires, London and Florida before moving to New York, where he held news-editing positions at The Daily News and The Post. He was 86 and living in Florida when he died in West Palm Beach on Dec. 3, following kidney failure.

Condie was born in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, a town in Scotland’s lowlands industrial belt, on Feb. 28, 1934. A year later, he and his family moved to Glasgow, about 12 miles away. He would have begun school in 1939, but the bombing raids brought on by World War II meant thousands of civilians had to be evacuated from port cities such as Glasgow and moved to safer areas. Condie was one of them.

After living with relatives in a less-threatened part of Scotland, the family returned to Glasgow in 1942. After the war, Condie was drafted into the Royal Navy Corps d’Elite for two years. Interested in languages since he was a teenager, he learned Russian and was stationed in Germany, where his duties included monitoring Soviet radio communications.

In 1955, when Condie started his newspaper career in Glasgow, he learned more than how to be a reporter. He also became adept at editing copy and writing headlines as well as learning newspaper design and layout.

He went abroad in 1961, working for three years as night editor of the English-language Buenos Aires Herald. Next came London for a year before moving to the United States in 1965 and worked for three years as an editor at the National Enquirer in Florida. For the next 20-odd years, he worked for The News and The Post in New York. In 1991, he returned to Florida and rejoined The Enquirer until semi-retiring in 1995.

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Jack Schwartz

In his junior high school’s senior yearbook, it says that Jack Schwartz “a journalist will be/We know he’ll make it, wait and see.” It was, in the most definitive of ways, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Schwartz, who was the editor of his senior yearbook, wrote the words himself, and “make it” he did. He became a newspaperman for almost 50 years, distinguishing himself at six metropolitan dailies as well as one in Europe, as a reporter and columnist but mostly as an editor, with a focus on books and culture. Schwartz, who died on Feb. 16 of complications brought on by the Covid 19 virus, was 82.

His honors include a Neiman fellowship from Harvard (1971) and an International Affairs fellowship at Columbia (1972). In 2005, when he retired from The New York Times, where he spent the bulk of his career, he began giving back. He taught a Master’s Project course at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and was a mentor at the Writers Institute of the CUNY Graduate Center. He also taught copy editing at NYU. He was a 1959 graduate of City College of New York and a member of its Communications Alumni Group’s Hall of Fame.

At CCNY, Schwartz majored in English and was editor-in-chief of The Campus, the student newspaper. While still a student, he got his first jobs in journalism: copy boy at the Daily Mirror, then at the New York Post. Shortly after graduation, he joined the Long Island Press as a reporter, then went over to Newsday as a reporter and columnist. In 1973, he joined The Times and filled a variety of editing roles on the Week in Review, the Sunday Magazine, the Culture Section, the Arts & Leisure pages and the Metro Desk. Schwartz left The Times in 1988 and rejoined Newsday, this time as book editor. After seven years, he moved to the Daily News as book editor before rejoining The Times as assistant editor at the Weekend section, in addition to working on the daily culture pages. He remained there until he retired in 2005. And somewhere in the middle of that, he even enjoyed a short stint as an editor at the International Herald-Tribune in Paris.

Post-retirement, he freelanced articles for the Daily Beast and The Times of Israel, among others, and in 2015 he wrote about all of it in a memoir, “The Fine Print: My Life as a Deskman.”

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Stephen Stoneburn

Stephen Stoneburn, a former reporter and editor who took on a variety of roles for almost 20 years with Fairchild Publications before leaving to launch a multimedia company now known as Frontline Medical Communications, died Jan. 11 of esophageal cancer. He was 77.

A native New Yorker and a graduate of New York University, Stoneburn was a reporter and editor who became a senior vice president at Fairchild, his employer from 1970 to 1989. His accomplishments at Fairchild included heading the Paris bureau; overseeing Daily News Record, a publication covering the men’s wear industry; running Fairchild News Service, then a global network of business journalists; starting Sportstyle, a publication focusing on sporting goods; and spearheading the launch of W magazine in Europe.

After leaving Fairchild and returning to the U.S., he worked for Miller Freeman, then a publisher of trade magazines, and founded Quadrant Media as president and chief executive officer in 1996. By 2012, Quadrant had become Frontline Medical Communications, a multimedia company whose scores of publications and digital newsletters reach millions of readers in the healthcare industry. Stoneburn was chairman and ceo.

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Ray Brady

Ray Brady, a longtime Silurian and a prize-winning CBS News correspondent, died Jan. 12 at his home in Manhattan after a lengthy illness. He was 94.

A genial fellow with a shock of snow-white hair, Brady was a frequent presence at Silurian lunches and dinners along with his wife, Mary, who died in 2018. He began his 28-year career with the network when he joined CBS Radio in 1972 to host its “Today in Business” segment. In 1977, he became a familiar face on television as a correspondent for “CBS Evening News,” a post he filled until retiring in 2000. On that occasion, Andrew Heyward — then president of CBS News — hailed Brady for “his powerful sense of integrity, his genuine interest in the people he met along the way, and his unflagging passion for the next story.”

Brady covered such major news developments as the 1987 stock market crash in the U.S. and the crises created by the mix of oil and politics in the Middle East. He also wrote for CBS News’ “MarketWatch” financial website and was a contributor to “CBS Sunday Morning.” Shortly before he retired, Brady served as interim host for PBS’s “Wall Street Week.” He earned an Emmy in 1982 for a series of “Evening News” reports on unemployment amid the recession.

Brady was born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey. He served in the Navy during World War II and graduated from Fordham University in 1948 before launching his journalism career at New Jersey’s Long Branch Daily Record newspaper. Before joining CBS, he worked at Forbes, Barron’s and Dun’s Review.

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