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Jim Bishop, Columnist and Author, Dies

July 28, 1987|From United Press International

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Jim Bishop, a nationally syndicated columnist for 27 years and author of best-selling books about Jesus Christ, John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, died of respiratory failure Sunday. He was 79.

His thrice-weekly newspaper column, "Jim Bishop: Reporter," was carried by more than 200 newspapers at its peak.

Bishop began his newspaper career in 1929 as a copy boy for the New York Daily News.

He once said he liked "lean little sentences, " and referred to his work as "a glassy, superficial style and a seasoned touch for saying a lot in a few words."

Among his 21 books were profiles of Lincoln, Christ, Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. that focused on a day in their lives. His last book, "A Bishop's Confession," was as much personal memoir as professional autobiography. A review in The Times in October, 1981, described it as "a full, warm, real, touching reminiscence of a writer's library-educated ascent."

Bishop spent 24 years collecting notebooks to produce the popular book "The Day Lincoln Was Shot," released in 1955. It sold about 3 million copies and was translated into 16 languages.

Bishop wrote two books on Kennedy, "A Day in the Life of President Kennedy," which took the reader through a 17-hour day in his Administration, and "The Day Kennedy Was Shot," a chronicle of Nov. 22, 1963.

He stopped writing his column in 1983, two years after his last book.

"I walk into the shadows temporarily," he wrote.

Bishop is survived by his former wife, Kelly, and four daughters.

Services are pending, family members said.

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