R. W. Apple Jr., who in more than 40 years as a correspondent and editor at The New York Times wrote about war and revolution, politics and government, food and drink, and the revenge of living well from more than 100 countries, died early this morning in Washington. He was 71.
The cause was complications of thoracic cancer.
With his Dickensian byline, Churchillian brio and Falstaffian appetites, Mr. Apple, who was known as Johnny, was a singular presence at The Times almost from the moment he joined the metropolitan staff in 1963. He remained a colorful figure as new generations of journalists around him grew more pallid, and his encyclopedic knowledge, grace of expression — and above all his expense account — were the envy of his competitors, imitators and peers. (more…)
Also, see Calvin Trillin’s classic New Yorker profile of R.W. Apple:
In a trade whose flamboyant characters are increasingly in short supply, he is still so widely discussed among reporters that Apple stories constitute a subgenre of the journalistic anecdote. Apple stories often portray R. W. Apple, Jr., checking into a hotel so staggeringly expensive that no other reporter would dare mention it on his expense account, or confidently knocking out a complicated lead story at a political convention as the deadline or the dinner hour approaches, or telling a sommelier that the wine won’t do (even if the sommelier has brought out the most distinguished bottle in that part of Alabama), or pontificating on architecture or history or opera or soccer or horticulture. He still travels grandly and eats prodigiously. In Apple stories that take place in restaurants or hotels or even newsrooms, the verb used to describe his manner of entry is normally “swept in.”