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Passings : Otto Fuerbringer

Editor of Time in turbulent era

August 01, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Otto Fuerbringer, 97, managing editor of Time magazine during the turbulent 1960s -- when the magazine produced a famous cover asking "Is God Dead?" and switched positions to oppose the Vietnam War -- died Monday at a nursing home in Fullerton, his son, Jonathan, said.

Fuerbringer was the last managing editor hired by the magazine's founder, Henry R. Luce, who died in 1967. During Fuerbringer's eight years in the top editorial position, Time covered the Cuban missile crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy, the Vietnam War and the rise of the civil rights, protest and youth movements.

Under his direction, the magazine tackled the culture wars of its era with cover stories on the birth control pill, the sexual revolution and a famous story in the April 8, 1966, edition whose cover asked in bold red letters: "Is God Dead?" The article examined the changing views on the Judeo-Christian God and challenges to the traditional view of a personal deity.

Time had long supported the Vietnam War, but in 1968 Fuerbringer, known for his conservative political views, wrote an article that said it could not be won.

Born in St. Louis on Sept. 27, 1910, Fuerbringer graduated from Harvard in 1932. He worked as a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 10 years before Time hired him as a national affairs writer.

He wrote more than 30 cover stories for Time. In 1951 he was named assistant managing editor, and he became managing editor in 1960.

In 1968, Fuerbringer was named editor of magazine development for Time Inc. He led the team that created People and Money magazines.

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