Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Memorial Service on the Intrepid for Reporter-Turned-Philanthropist Michael Stern

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Memorial Service on the Intrepid for Reporter-Turned-Philanthropist Michael Stern

Article excerpt

A memorial service was held May 1 aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, in New York for longtime crime and combat reporter, author, journal editor, movie producer and philanthropist Michael Stern. He died April 7 in Florida. He was 98.

Stern was a journalist for much of his life. But in recent decades he was best known for starting a Parkinson's disease foundation, aiding work on Huntington's disease, and collaborating with the late philanthropist Zachary Fisher -- to create an Alzheimer's disease charitable organization and an Alzheimer's research center under Nobel laureate Dr. Paul Greengard, house families visiting hospitalized military personnel, and convert the scrapped aircraft carrier USS Intrepid into a floating military museum.

On the Intrepid, Fisher's nephew Ken remarked: "Mike was always there" - for the Allies' arrival in Rome, Mussolini's death and Dachau's liberation, for finding and interviewing Salvatore Giuliano "decades before Mario Puzo wrote 'The Sicilian,'" and for the causes he championed.

Born almost 99 years ago on one of the last farms in Brooklyn, N.Y., Stern left journalism studies at Syracuse University shortly before graduating to work as a sports writer, taking a job at the New York Journal, then, according to The New York Times, moving to the Middletown (N.Y.) Times Herald. Years later, after Stern became a celebrated writer, the university awarded him a degree.

In the 1930s, Stern wrote for several crime magazines and worked part time for the Brooklyn district attorney's office, where his work contributed to convictions of prostitution ringleaders and to the subject of his first book. Another of his seven books, Flight From Terror, was co-authored with early Nazi official and journalist Otto Strasser, who escaped to Canada after opposing the party's direction.

Stern joined the Army in 1943 as a war correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance, following the fight from North Africa on to Italy, where, the next year, he and correspondent Fred Rosen made it into Rome ahead of General Mark Clark's forces. Stern remained in Italy for 50 years. During that time he wrote his autobiography and other books, edited a weekly science journal and produced several films, including 1988's Run for Your Life.

He returned to the United States to live about 15 years ago, but maintained life-long personal, political and philanthropic contacts in Italy, where he was made a cavaliere ufficiale in 1998. …

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