Giant of journalism Johnny Apple dies of cancer aged 71

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The Independent US

American journalism was mourning one of its giants yesterday, the New York Times man Johnny Apple, whose exploits as a political writer and foreign correspondent were matched by a Falstaffian appetite for good food, high living and erudite wit.

Apple died of thoracic cancer at the age of 71. Yesterday, the Times rushed his final travel piece into print - a catalogue of 10 unforgettable restaurants in 10 different countries which Apple himself said was the product of "half a century of assiduous eating in restaurants around the world".

The man, whose byline appeared as R W Apple Jr, but who was known as Johnny, covered Vietnam and the 1991 Gulf War, the Iranian revolution, the Falklands war and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. In a Times career spanning 43 years, he travelled to more than 100 countries.

He followed 10 presidential campaigns, and came to specialise in a Times feature he arguably invented: the front-page political news analysis.

His penchant for travelling in style - and charging the newspaper accordingly - was legendary, as was his love of good stories. His colleague Andrew Rosenthal once observed that he had the best mind and the worst body in American journalism.

For his 70th birthday last year, he invited his friends to the Parisian bistro Chez L'Ami Louis, where they tore through plates of foie gras, escargot, scallops and chicken, and drank what his Times obituary said were "gallons of burgundy and magnums of Calvados".

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