Remembering Pete Hamill, Legendary Journalist and Author

The New York writer was 85 years old.

pete hamill, journalist and author of a killing for christ
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  • Photo Credit: David Shankbone

Pete Hamill, the acclaimed writer of novels, screenplays and newspaper columns has passed after suffering a fall in his Brooklyn home. 

Dan Barry, a columnist at The New York Times, commemorated Hamill in a tweet.“The truly great Pete Hamill died this morning,” wrote Barry. “Newspaperman, novelist, mentor to so many, citizen of the world. I once wrote that if the pavement of New York City could talk, it would sound like Pete Hamill. Now that city weeps.”

Hamill's newspaper covered more than 40 years, spanning Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1966 march from Memphis to Jackson; wars in Vietnam and Nicaragua; "The Troubles" in his ancestral Ireland and the Twin Towers falling on 9/11.

In a 2007 CBS News profile of Hamill, author Peter Quinn said that he was "the authentic voice of working-class New York. Combining Irish eloquence with Brooklyn realism, he's served as a voice for immigrants of all colors and a conscience for the entire city."

Hamill's first novel, A Killing for Christ, was published in 1968. The thrilling tale of a plan to assassinate the Pope was hailed as "fast-paced [and] stylishly punchy' by The New York Times. Hamill's other notable titles included Snow in August, North River, Tabloid City, and his memoir, A Drinking Life.

In 2019, HBO released a documentary called Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists. The film examines Hamill and his contemporary, Jimmy Breslin. Jonathan Alter, one of the documentary's co-directors, said the two men "personified an era when print journalists could be swashbuckling figures. It's unimaginable now."

Related: 10 Powerful Jimmy Breslin Books 

Featured photo via David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons