Sid Moody: Reporter who covered the assassination of JFK


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The Independent Online

Sid Moody, who died on15 April aged 83, chronicled many major events of the 20th century for Associated Press, from the assassination of John F Kennedy to the Iranian hostage crisis. He wrote or co-wrote several books including the bestselling The Torch is Passed, on the Kennedy assassination, and 444 Days: The American Hostage Story about the Iranian hostage crisis.

Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, Moody joined AP in 1956 and later moved to the News features department in New York. There he was part of a group known as the "Poets' Corner" who supplied feature copy for papers around the world. During nearly four decades at AP he covered such events as the Warren Commission report on Kennedy's assassination, the trial of Lee Harvey Oswald's murderer Jack Ruby, the Detroit race riots, the My Lai massacre, North Korea's capture of the spy ship USS Pueblo, the kidnapping of a bus full of schoolchildren in Chowchilla, California and the mass suicide of Jim Jones's followers in Guyana.

Moody's career almost ended before it began, when he contracted polio during a motorcycle trip around war-torn Europe with his cousin and college friends in 1949. He came down with full-blown polio while returning home aboard the Cunard liner RMS Parthia.

With no medication for polio on board, crew members rowed a lifeboat into the remnants of a hurricane to retrieve parachuted medicine flown from New York. Moody survived but was never again able to lift his left arm above his shoulder.

Moody was an avid sailor who combined business with pleasure by covering the America's Cup yacht races from 1962 until 1987. Usually accompanied by his wife, Patricia Anne, who survives him, he sailed around the globe to places like Grenada in the West Indies and Campobello Island in Canada's Bay of Fundy.

He also was an amateur trombonist who claimed to be the third best in the state of New Jersey, "because I have heard the other two."