NEW YORK – Jack Newfield (search), a muckraking reporter and newspaper columnist who wrote books on Robert F. Kennedy and boxing impresario Don King, has died. He was 66.
Newfield died Monday after being hospitalized for kidney cancer that had spread to his lungs, said Howard Rubenstein, spokesman for the family.
Newfield's career included stints at the Village Voice, the Daily News and the New York Post. He won numerous awards, including the George Polk Award and an Emmy. Most recently, he was a columnist at the New York Sun.
"I think he invented a whole new form of journalism, a new form of personal investigative journalism that was rooted in a consuming ethic and a brilliant search for truth," said Wayne Barrett, Newfield's co-author on the book "City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York." (search)
A native of Brooklyn, Newfield was drawn to the civil rights movement after college, and his first book, "A Prophetic Minority," was about his experiences in the South. He was arrested at a sit-in in 1963 and spent two days in jail with Michael Schwerner, one of three civil rights workers who were slain in Mississippi the following year.
After joining the Voice, Newfield traveled with Kennedy during his presidential campaign in 1968 and was present when he was assassinated in Los Angeles. His book "Robert Kennedy: A Memoir" came out the following year.
"Though it's really unknowable, I think that if Bobby had lived to be president, we would have ended the Vietnam War much sooner (and) renewed the war on poverty," Newfield said in a recent interview.
Newfield won a Polk award (search) for investigative reporting in 1980 for a series of Voice articles on state and city politics.
He left the Voice in 1988 to become a columnist at the Daily News. He later worked as a Post columnist for 10 years, and then more recently at the Sun.
Newfield's later books included "Only in America: The Life and Crimes of Don King," "Somebody's Gotta Tell It: The Upbeat Memoir of a Working Class Journalist" and "The Full Rudy: The Man, the Myth and the Mania," about former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Newfield also worked on several television documentaries as a writer and producer. He won an Emmy in 1991 for "Don King: Unauthorized," which aired on PBS.
"The Greeks say the greatest gift the gods can give a person is a great passion," former Gov. Mario Cuomo said. "He was copiously blessed by the gods."
Newfield is survived by his wife, Janie, and children Rebecca and Joseph.