LOS ANGELES (AP) – Edwin O. Guthman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was on the infamous “enemies list” prepared by aides of President Richard Nixon and served as press secretary to Robert F. Kennedy, has died at 89.
Guthman, who suffered from a rare blood disease called amyloidosis, died Sunday at his Pacific Palisades home, said Bryce Nelson, a family spokesman.
“Ed Guthman was not only a great friend, but a great journalist,” Paul Conrad, a longtime political cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times, said Monday. “He was the only person I ever tore up a cartoon for.”
Guthman was Los Angeles Times national editor from 1965 to 1977, then served a decade as editorial page editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Guthman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1950 for his stories in The Seattle Times on the Washington state Legislature’s Un-American Activities Committee. His reporting cleared a University of Washington professor of allegations that he was a Communist supporter.
Guthman was press secretary for attorney general and later Sen. Robert F. Kennedy from 1961 to ’65.
A Kennedy loyalist in his private life, Guthman wrote or edited four books about Robert F. Kennedy. And he always wore a tie clip that President John Kennedy had given him, according to the USC Annenberg School for Communication.
In 1971, Guthman was the third name on a 20-name list of political opponents singled out for harassment in a memo sent from Nixon aide Charles Colson to aide John Dean.
The memo described Guthman, then national editor of the Los Angeles Times, as having been “a highly sophisticated hatchetman against us in ’68.”
He was a journalism professor and senior lecturer at the University of Southern California from 1987 until his retirement last year.
“He exemplifies the ultimate journalist. I’m successful because of what (he) taught me,” CNN anchor and USC alumni Kyra Phillips said during a tribute at USC last year.
Tom Brokaw praised Guthman at that tribute as one of the “greatest generation,” the USC Daily Trojan reported at the time. “I will always see Ed Guthman as citizen Ed Guthman,” Brokaw said.
In the 1990s, Guthman was a founding commissioner and a president of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission.
He also was one of three outside experts who reviewed — and harshly criticized — the 1993 federal standoff at the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas, in which some 80 people died.
Born Aug. 11, 1919, in Seattle, Guthman attended the University of Washington and worked as a reporter for the Seattle Star before he was drafted in World War II. He served in North Africa and Italy, was wounded and received the Purple Heart and the Silver Star.
Guthman is survived by three sons, a daughter and five grandchildren.