Sidey, Hugh 1927–2005

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Sidey, Hugh 1927–2005

(Hugh Swanson Sidey)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born September 3, 1927, in Greenfield, IA; died of heart failure, November 21, 2005, in Paris, France. Journalist, broadcaster, and author. Best known for his many years reporting for Time magazine, Sidey was particularly noted for his interviews with and reports on American presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower through Bill Clinton. Growing up in a family that owned his home town's newspaper, he was exposed to journalism at an early age. After graduating from high school, he served a few months in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1946. Sidey then studied journalism at Iowa State University, completing his bachelor's degree in 1950. He worked as a reporter in Iowa and Nebraska during the early 1950s before joining Life magazine's staff in 1955. Here he covered science stories for three years in New York City. Next, he moved to Time's Washington, DC, office to be a correspondent. From 1958 to 1996 he covered news at the nation's capital, becoming well known for his interviews with U.S. presidents. He was very adept at getting close to America's leaders, including Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. Among these men, he said he felt closest to Reagan on a personal level because they shared much in common, including a love of sports and broadcasting, and both had been lifeguards as young men. Being able to get so close to America's presidents had its advantages, but Sidey also admitted that being too friendly with them could risk his objectivity as a journalist. However, it also made his column "The Presidency" very popular with readers. In addition to his magazine work, Sidey appeared on the television news show Agronsky and Company (later Inside Washington) for many years; in 2000 he narrated a PBS program about American presidents. After his official retirement, he continued writing occasionally about the White House for several more years. He was also the author of a number of books, including John F. Kennedy, President (1963), Portrait of a President (1975), and Hugh Sidey's Profiles of the Presidents: From Ford to Clinton with Time Magazine's Veteran White House Correspondent (2001). In his final years, Sidey wrote biographies and guidebooks for the White House Historical Association.

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Chicago Tribune, November 22, 2005, section 2, p. 11.

Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2005, p. B8.

New York Times, November 23, 2005, p. A24.

Washington Post, November 22, 2005, p. B5.