Thompson, Robert Elliott 1921-2003
THOMPSON, Robert Elliott 1921-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 28, 1921, in Los Angeles, CA; died of prostate cancer, November 18, 2003, in Williamsburg, VA. Journalist and author. A highly respected reporter, Thompson was a former White House correspondent and news bureau chief and, later, publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. After serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II, he completed a bachelor's degree in journalism at Indiana University in 1949. His first job as a reporter was with the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette; he then joined the staff of the International News Service in 1951, a wire service that later merged with United Press to become United Press International in 1958. That year, Thompson temporarily left reporting to become John F. Kennedy's press secretary while Kennedy was running for reelection to the Senate. He returned to journalism the next year as a reporter for the New York Daily News as its White House correspondent. Still working in Washington, DC, he transferred to the Los Angeles Times in 1962 and was at the scene when suspected Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby. His experience with the Kennedy clan would later lead to Thompson's first two books: Robert Kennedy: The Brother Within (1962), which he wrote with Hortense Myers, and The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald: Based upon the Teleplay (1977). Thompson became national editor for Hearst Newspapers from 1968 to 1974, and then was publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 1974 to 1978. Although he stayed with the Seattle paper, he left his administrative post to return to Washington, DC as bureau chief from 1978 to 1989. Even in retirement, Thompson continued to write articles for Hearst Newspapers until just weeks before his death. His last book to be published was Sand Springs, Oklahoma: Consolidated Name and Subject Indexes to Major Genealogical and Historical Sources (1996).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2003, p. B18.
Washington Post, November 19, 2003, p. B7.