Pete Hamill, Legendary New York Journalist, Dies at 85

Hamill died Wednesday morning after a fall, according to his former employer, the New York Daily News

Last Updated: August 5, 2020 @ 7:17 AM

Legendary New York journalist and novelist Pete Hamill died Wednesday at the age of 85.

His death was announced in the New York Daily News, where he once worked as an editor. According to the paper, which cited Hamill’s brother and fellow former Daily News columnist Denis Hamill, the longtime newspaperman fell on Saturday and sustained a hip fracture. He died four days later in New York-Presbyterian/Brooklyn Methodist Hospital after his heart and kidneys failed following emergency surgery.

During his 40-year career working on New York City tabloids, Hamill wrote for a number of outlets and served as an editor for both the Daily News and its archrival, the New York Post. Together with Jimmy Breslin, a rival columnist at the tabloids who died in 2017, Hamill helped define a streetwise approach to covering the nation’s biggest city, focusing on the average citizens as well as major players.

He also wrote for the New Yorker, Esquire, Rolling Stone, New York Magazine, New York Newsday and the Village Voice.

Hamill also published over 2o novels and short stories in his career, several of which were adapted into TV movies, including “The Gift” (1979), “Flesh & Blood” (1979) and “Snow in August” (2001). In 1994, he published a celebrated memoir, “A Drinking Life” about his youth and early battles with alcohol addiction.

New York Times columnist Dan Barry was quick to memorialize Hamill Wednesday morning, tweeting, “The truly great Pete Hamill died this morning. Newspaperman, novelist, mentor to so many, citizen of the world. I once wrote that if the pavement of New York City could talk, it would sound like Pete Hamill. Now that city weeps.”

Former Times columnist Clyde Haberman reacted as well: “The world just became a far less interesting place.”