Anthony Day, Former ‘L.A. Times’ Editorial Page Editor, Dies

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Anthony Day, who helped shape the editorial page at the Los Angeles Times, has died. He was 74.

Day died Sunday at St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, N.M., of complications of emphysema, his wife, Lynn, told the newspaper.

Day, from a family of journalists, was hired by Times publisher Otis Chandler in 1969 as the paper’s chief editorial writer. On June 7, 1970, an editorial written by Day urged President Nixon to withdraw U.S. troops from Vietnam. The newspaper had, until that time, supported the Vietnam War.

“The time has come for the United States to leave Vietnam, to leave it swiftly, wholly, and without equivocation,” Day wrote at the time.

In 1971, Day was promoted to editor of the editorial pages where he spent 18 years helping push the newspaper to adopt new, more balanced editorial stances. During that period, he worked closely with the Times’ publishers to sever the paper’s historic ties with the Republican Party and set it on a course that brought not only national but global recognition.

“I recruited Tony as the right man to remake the Times’ editorial page, and I always felt it was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Chandler, who died in 2006, told a Times reporter some years ago.

Day retired in the mid-1990s but his byline continued to appear in the paper as a contributor to the book review section. He also still edited a newspaper column written by former Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger, who reflected on their long association.

“Although he was a constant critic of the policies of the administrations in which I served, I always considered him a critic of exemplary fairness, ability and honesty,’ Kissinger said in a statement.

Born in Miami on May 12, 1933, Day was the eldest of four sons who all became journalists. His father, Price Day, was a foreign correspondent for the Baltimore Sun who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1949.

Anthony Day graduated from Harvard College and later served two years in the Army.

His newspaper career started in 1957 at the Philadelphia Bulletin, where he eventually became the paper’s Washington bureau chief.

In addition to his wife of 47 years, Day is survived by a son John, a grandchild, two step-grandchildren, and his brothers Joe and Tom of Santa Fe and James of Berkeley. His daughter, Julie, died in 1989.

Funeral services were pending.

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