Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Arthur Gelb | N.Y. Times editor, 90

Arthur Gelb, 90, whose news sense, arts sensibility, and journalistic vigor sculpted the New York Times for decades, died Tuesday in Manhattan of complications of a stroke.

Mr. Gelb joined the Times as a copyboy in 1944 and rose to become its managing editor, retiring in 1989. Along the way, he was an arts writer, a metropolitan editor, and a newsroom leader who helped create the Sports Monday, Science Times, and other daily sections.

Just three days into his copyboy job, Mr. Gelb got editors' OK for a news outlet of his own: a weekly about the internal life of the newspaper. He quickly got to know reporters and editors, and promotions followed.

When a B-25 bomber crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945, Mr. Gelb reported from Bellevue Hospital. Nurses spoke openly with the young, inexperienced reporter and taught him "a journalistic virtue: naivete," he wrote later.

As an arts critic in the 1960s, he wrote about Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand, and others early in their careers.

He was metro editor from 1967 to 1978, leading coverage of a city wracked by antiwar protests, a municipal near-bankruptcy, and police corruption.

He became deputy managing editor in 1977 and managing editor in 1986. After retiring, he served as president of the Times' charitable foundation. - AP

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