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Former LA Times Editor Bill Thomas Dead At 89

Thomas led the paper to multiple Pulitzer Prizes and other accolades

Former Los Angeles Times editor-in-chief William F. Thomas, whose acclaimed tenure at the paper included nine Pulitzer Prizes, has died. He was 89.

Thomas died Sunday of congestive heart failure.

From 1971 to 1989, Thomas, known for being very hands-off with reporters, oversaw the expansion of bureaus as well as opening new regional editions of the newspaper in San Diego and the San Fernando Valley. He is also credited for the launch of the Times’ acclaimed Sunday magazine, which was shuttered in 2012.

Also read: Los Angeles Times Shutting Down Magazine; Layoffs Expected

LA Times media reporter David Shaw reflected on Thomas’s career in a retrospective in 1989, where he applauded him for “a 100 percent increase in the paper’s news and editorial staff; a 600 percent increase in the paper’s annual news and editorial budget; all-time highs in daily circulation (1.1 million) and Sunday circulation (1.4 million).”

“But as impressive as those numbers are,” Shaw said, “stories like David Felton’s “Haight-Ashbury Revisited: Some Observations in the Week After the Death of Chocolate George” may represent — to admirers and critics alike — a more relevant and more revealing insight into the Thomas years at The Times.”