Legendary columnist Jimmy Breslin – who was known for sporting fat cigars and winning the Pulitzer Prize for his Daily News’ columns highlighting everyday New Yorkers – died Sunday morning, according to friend and family members. He was 88.
Jimmy Breslin Cause of Death
Breslin had been recovering from pneumonia at the time of his death.
The proud curmudgeon who championed the average joe and performed take down jobs of the elite with glee was published everywhere from The News, News Day, the New York Journal American and the New York Herald Tribune.
Breslin served as a newspaper reporter and columnist for upwards of 40 years, quickly gathering a loyal following that remained throughout his professional career. His work was so captivating that even serial killers wanted to correspond with him.
In summer of 1977, the “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz began writing to Breslin from the “gutters of N.Y.C., which are filled with dog manure, vomit, stale wine, urin and blood.”
Breslin’s coverage on the Son of Sam’s grisly crimes enwrapped the entire city of New York.
Breslin was born during the Great Depression into an Irish-American family and raised in Ozone Park, Queens. While still in school, he landed his first job as a copy editor for the Long Island Press and the rest, as they say, is history.
The writer’s break out story came when he was assigned to President John F. Kennedy’s funeral in 1963. Rather than take a straight forward approach, Breslin sniffed out a creative angle no other reporters were covering. His story about Clifton Pollard, the man who dug the president’s grave, is one of the most iconic stories in journalism history and often used in journalism school courses to exemplify enterprise reporting.