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For the record

September 21, 2007

O'Donnell obituary: The obituary of photographer Joe O'Donnell in the Aug. 16 California section incorrectly reported that O'Donnell was a White House photographer during the administrations of Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. O'Donnell took publicity photos of presidents in the White House for the U.S. Information Agency, but he was never an official White House photographer, a position that did not exist until the Johnson administration. Also, based on a claim he had made, the obituary reported that O'Donnell was one of several photographers to have taken a famous picture of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's casket at the 1963 funeral procession. But several photojournalists have challenged that and offered evidence that the shot O'Donnell took credit for was taken by United Press International photographer Stan Stearns. In addition, O'Donnell claimed that he took the photograph of Josef Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill at the 1943 Tehran Conference that ran with the obituary. That claim is also in doubt. In light of these facts, the Times erred in running an obituary of O'Donnell.

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