George Church, 1931-2001

On Friday, as deadline neared, we received word that George J. Church had died of kidney failure on New York's Long Island. In his 25 years here, George was one of the solid rocks on which TIME was built. A master of journalistic compression and clarity, he wrote 126 cover stories, still the record. His ability to command volumes of fact and reams of endlessly incoming reporting was legendary. As deadlines loomed, he deftly recast stories with fresh information, whittling them to fit the constraints of the printed page with nary a loss of substance and ever increasing levels of precision....

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