Legendary New York Post reporter Steve Dunleavy died of unknown causes at his home on Long Island on Monday at age 81.
The hard-charging Dunleavy, born in Australia, was known for his love of life as much as he was for his dedication to journalism. The paper where he spent the majority of his iconic career described Dunleavy as “the hard-hitting, hard-drinking journalist who helped define The New York Post as a crime reporter, editor and premier columnist.”
The Post’s editorial board called Dunleavy the “heart” of the paper who helped transform the Post “into a roaring must-read that New Yorkers loved or hated -- or both” following its purchase by Rupert Murdoch in 1976.
“Steve Dunleavy was one of the greatest reporters of all time."
“Steve Dunleavy was one of the greatest reporters of all time,” Murdoch told the Post. “Steve’s life story is littered with great scoops. He was much loved by both his colleagues and editors. His passing is the end of a great era.”
Dunleavy’s journalism career began at age 14 when he worked as a copy boy for the Australian tabloid that employed his father as a photographer. He soon jumped ship to a rival paper, where he famously competed with his own dad for scoops. Dunleavy eventually moved to the United States in 1966 after stints working in Hong Kong, London and the Bahamas.
Murdoch hired Dunleavy in 1967 for a variety of roles before naming him the Post’s crime reporter in 1976 – just in time to breathlessly cover the infamous “Son of Sam” murders.
Dunleavy left the Post in 1986 to report on air for “A Current Affair,” but later returned to the paper and penned a daily column until he retired in 2008. He was recognized for his admiration of the New York Police Department, which often celebrated Dunleavy as one of their own.
“As someone so deeply knowledgeable about the city, he knew how difficult and demanding the job is,” former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told the Post on Monday.
Dunleavy, a 2017 Australian Media Hall of Fame inductee, is survived by his wife, Gloria, and their two sons, Peter and Sean, according to the Post.