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Daniel De Luce, 90; '44 Pulitzer Winner

January 31, 2002|From Associated Press

Daniel De Luce, who as a World War II correspondent for Associated Press won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the strength of partisan resistance to the Nazis in Yugoslavia, has died. He was 90.

De Luce died Tuesday at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido of complications from a fall at his home in San Diego, said his brother, Richard, of Palos Verdes Estates.

A native of Yuma, Ariz., De Luce had lived in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego with his wife, Alma, since 1980.

De Luce, whose coverage of World War II took him to North Africa, South Asia and throughout Europe, began his career as an office boy in AP's San Francisco bureau in 1929.

He later transferred to the Los Angeles bureau, where he worked until 1934, when he received a bachelor's degree in economics from UCLA.

De Luce spent a year reporting for the now-defunct Los Angeles Examiner before rejoining Associated Press as a reporter.

In the spring of 1939, AP sent him to Budapest, Hungary, where he began reporting on the conflicts that led to World War II. Later that year, he covered Germany's invasion of Poland.

While covering the Italian and German invasion of Greece, he and Alma, a photographer, had to flee with other correspondents in a fishing boat to Turkey.

His coverage included the British retreat from Burma, the American campaigns in North Africa and Italy, and the war crime trials at Nuremberg.

In 1943, he ignored the warning of a British naval captain and traveled to war-torn Yugoslavia to get a firsthand look at partisans led by Marshal Josip Broz Tito, who went on to become the country's Communist leader.

De Luce's four-part series gave readers the most extensive account to date on underground forces in the region and won the 1944 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.

Years later, De Luce said that winning the Pulitzer Prize meant he could stop trying to prove himself.

''I could relax,'' he told an interviewer. ''It's like some guy getting into a movie and it's a big, big success. Well, you know, he doesn't have to be a star anymore.''

After the war, De Luce reported from Jordan on the Arab-Israeli war of 1947-48.

He then returned to Europe to serve as AP bureau chief in Frankfurt, Germany.

De Luce returned to the United States in 1956 to work at AP headquarters in New York. He retired from the news cooperative as a deputy general manager in 1976.

His survivors include his wife, brother and a sister.

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