By: Ben Fox, Associated Press Writer
(AP) Daniel De Luce, who as a World War II correspondent for The Associated Press won a Pulitzer Prize for his daring reporting on the strength of partisan resistance to the Nazis in Yugoslavia, died Tuesday. He was 90.
De Luce died at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido of complications from a fall at his home in San Diego, said his brother, Richard, of Palos Verdes Estates.
The retired AP reporter and executive, a native of Yuma, Ariz., had lived in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego with his wife, Alma, since 1980.
De Luce, whose coverage of World War II took him to North Africa, South Asia, and Europe, began his career as an office boy in the AP’s San Francisco bureau in 1929.
He later transferred to the Los Angeles bureau, where he worked until 1934, when he received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles.
De Luce then spent a year reporting for the now-defunct Los Angeles Examiner so he would have enough experience to rejoin AP as a reporter, which he did a year later.
The AP sent him in the spring of 1939 to Budapest, Hungary, where he began reporting on the conflicts that led to World War II. Later that year, he covered Germany’s invasion of Poland.
While covering the Italian and German invasion of Greece, he and Alma, a photographer, had to flee with other correspondents in a fishing boat to Turkey.
His coverage also included the British retreat from Burma, the American campaigns in North Africa and Italy, and the war crime trials at Nuremberg.
In 1943, he ignored the warning of a British naval captain and traveled to war-torn Yugoslavia to get a firsthand look at partisans led by Marshal Tito, who went on to become the country’s Communist leader.
De Luce’s four-part series gave readers the most extensive account to date on underground forces in the region and won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.
Years later, De Luce said the Pulitzer meant he could stop trying to prove himself. “I could relax,” he told an interviewer. “It’s like some guy getting into a movie and it’s a big, big success. Well, you know, he doesn’t have to be a star anymore.”
After the war, he reported from Jordan on the Arab-Israeli war of 1947-48, then returned to Europe to serve as bureau chief in Frankfurt, Germany. He returned to the United States in 1956 to work at AP headquarters in New York and retired from the news cooperative, as a deputy general manager, in 1976.
His survivors include his wife, brother, and a sister.
A memorial service has not yet been scheduled.