September 3, 2003 by

Dick Darcey


Categories: Media

Richard Darcey, an award-winning photographer for The Washington Post, died on Sept. 2 of pneumonia. He was 74.

Darcey landed his first job in journalism in 1948 when he was hired as a copy boy for the Washington Times-Herald. Within two years, the newspaper brought him on as a full-time staff photographer.

Darcey had to give up the job during the Korean War to serve the Air Force as a photographer in Greenland. His replacement at the paper was Jacqueline Bouvier, who interviewed Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts. She later became Kennedy’s wife and the First Lady.

When Darcey returned to the states in 1955, he joined The Washington Post. In his three decades at the daily, Darcey shot pictures of every major sport. His images won top awards from the White House Press Photographers Association and appeared in Sports Illustrated, Look and Life magazines.

4 Responses to Dick Darcey

  1. Bob Douglas

    Dick was a good friend of mine when we were both attending Central High School in Washington, DC in the late 1940s. Dick was a very plesent person to be around and all that knew him thought he was the greatest. I was watching a tribute to Shirley Povich tonight and I thought of Dick, who had taken many photographs for him.
    More later when I have time to think about those years so long ago. I would appreciate an Email from anyone who remembers Dick and me.

  2. Martin Smith-Rodden

    Dick Darcey was a mentor of mine while I was attending University of Maryland and working as a photojournalist for the Prince George’s Journal near Washington D.C. in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
    I chose not to major in journalism, and instead concentrated on getting “real world” experience, seeking internships and mentoring relationships. Thus, the experience and insights that Dick and his colleague Bill Smith (“Smitty”) of the Associated Press, proved to be a highly formative instrument in turning me toward this profession. I went on to work in Texas at the now-defunct The San Antonio Light (1983-86), and have been working at the Virginian Pilot for 19 years as a photographer and, now, a photo editor.
    A few years back I “got lucky” and won some recognition in NPPA, and Dick wrote me to congratulate me and let me know that he’d been quietly watching my career and work in the Pilot. I came down a few times to visit him in retirement in Rodanthe, NC, and had the chance to introduce him to my spouse, Pamela.
    Pam and I lamented that it was a shame we didn’t live closer to Dick, who had taken up a marvelously eccentric life of reading and artistic endeavors at his Decoy Shop on the Outer Banks. Pam and I could picture us spending hours with Dick, talking over a beach bonfire with good wine. Alas, the occasional and all too infrequent visit had to suffice, as my busy life ran away with me in here Norfolk. News of Dick’s passing rekindled an interest of mine in mentoring, and I began to bring on mentoring relationships in kind of a tribute to Dick.
    The role of a mentor can never be underestimated… and Dick’s influence has stayed with me to this day. I just finished a faculty stint at a workshop at the Chrysler Museum ( While there, I remembered his impact on me as a developing newspaper photojournalist. I currently “play mentor” to a number of young photographers and students as I try to “pay forward” Dick’s legacy.
    A placidly-irreverent social critic, he’d almost certainly be highly amused to see himself remembered in the Internet on a “blog of death.” Nonetheless, the lessons of his life transcend the trite changes in technology and communication over the years. If I can make one tenth as much an impact among a few rising professionals in photojournalism as Dick made in my life, I’ll be lucky as well as blessed.
    Thanks for the lessons Dick.

  3. Sue Frazier

    I met Dick in 1988 while on a trip to the Outer Banks. I attended an art show featuring hand carved shorebirds and we struck up a conversation. He was such an interesting and knowledgeable man. For years when my husband and I vacationed in Rodanthe, we always made it a point to spend time with Dick at The Waterfowl Shop. I was looking for a particular shorebird and he located it for me and sent it by mail.
    I am saddened by his passing and feel fortunate to have known him.

  4. Lincoln Phillips

    Dick and I met when I became the Head soccer coach of the Washington Darts and Howard University in Washington DC during the late sixties. The first time the Darts played Santos, of Brazil. Dick took some of the most breathtaking photos of the game….unfortunately I was on the losing end since I was the unfortunate goalkeeper to go 1v1 with the world’s creates player at that time, Pele. He came to my office with a batch of these beautiful pictures and said, Lincoln I am about to discard these pictures but I know that you would treasure them….I I really do up to this day.Since then Dick and I became very close as we worked on several projects involving soccer for many of the the inner city organizations and associations.
    His son was a truly a talented left-footed player and he became a fixture at my soccer school (Lincoln Phillips Soccer School). Obviously Dick traveled with his camera and took hundreds of photographs of our camp activities.

    I recently completed my autobiography and I needed desperately to get in contact with my dear friend Dick, only to read the sad news that he passed sometime in 2003. I was so shocked when I heard the news. I would do anything to contact his son and wife share our love for Dick. M contact number is 443-546-3233 and e-mail address- If anyone knows of their whereabouts, please ask them to contact me.

    May he rest in peace.

    Lincoln Phillips

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