Legendary New York Times journalist “Johnny” Apple died overnight from complications with thoracic cancer. The 71-year-old, whose career spanned more than 40 years, followed politics with as much gusto as he pursued food and travel. Today, he’s being remembered by colleagues.

  • Well-rounded in more ways than one, “Johnny” Apple was instantly recognizable for his girth as well as his knowledge of politics, sports, grand opera, fine wine and rich food. While traveling on assignment, where experience might tell some reporters to pack water or extra batteries, Mr Apple never neglected to bring along a pepper mill. – Washington Post
  • 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. – Independent Online
  • In the Times, Todd Purdum, describing Johnny’s initial impact on politics, quoted an early-1960s citation saying the paper had recently acquired “a 185-pound, water-cooled, self-propelled, semi-automatic machine called RW Apple Jr.” – The Australian
  • “From his sickbed he hammered out his last words to readers (see last Sunday’s Travel section), negotiated details of the menu and music for his memorial service, followed the baseball play-offs and the latest congressional scandal with relish, and cheered up the friends who came by to cheer him up. He was himself to the last,” Times executive editor Bill Keller said in a note to staff. – ABC Online
  • With his Dickensian byline, Churchillian brio and Falstaffian appetites, Mr Apple, who was known as Johnny, was a singular presence at The Times almost from the moment he joined the metropolitan staff in 1963 … To the end of his life, Mr Apple kept a small black bag packed with essentials, including a personal pepper mill, ready to be whisked away on a moment’s notice for a big story, or for a little one that caught his fancy. – New York Times

Peter Fray

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