August 9, 2003 by

Robert J. Donovan


Categories: Education, Media, Writers/Editors

Robert John Donovan, a veteran journalist and author, died on Aug. 8 from complications of a stroke. He was 90.
After graduating from high school, Donovan made $7 a week as a night copy boy for the Buffalo Courier Express. Four years later, he became a reporter for The New York Herald Tribune and covered city hall. During World War II, Donovan wrote for the armed services newspaper, Stars and Stripes, then went back to the Herald Tribune to report on national and political stories in Washington D.C. In 1963, Donovan was hired by the Los Angeles Times to man its Washington bureau.
Donovan covered five presidential administrations and broke many major news stories. He followed the 1948 Harry S. Truman-Thomas E. Dewey campaign, rode in the presidential motorcade in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and broke the story of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Vietnam in 1969 (his story was published before President Nixon had officially announced the event).
Donovan also wrote 13 books, including “PT-109,” a best-seller about President Kennedy’s war experiences. It was published in 1961 and made into a movie starring Cliff Robertson. Donovan’s memoir, “Boxing the Kangaroo,” was published in 2000.

2 Responses to Robert J. Donovan

  1. Glen E. Hitt

    Superb individual, kind, gentle and intelligent. Definitely left a better world than he found. Attended the Presidential Press Dinner with son Peter and Peter

  2. susan Zachary burke

    My mother louise zachary a nurse was friends with your Grandmother Amy pomeroy’s nurse -mrs langdale. your grandmother was so lovely to us. i met all of you the summer i was 16. you all came to visit and we had a plane land on the beach for us! So fun- I named my daughter Amy after your grandmother. My Amy Elizabeth Moeller is a beautiful 34 in St. Augustine. I am writing because i just found your grandmothers record. I have also bought an old baby grand piano due to her influence and took lessons at 54!!!. Remember her black one? I wish you all well and am proud to have met you all.:-) Susan Zachary Burke

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