People Remembered: Sir Harold Evans

Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

Sir Harold Evans, a renowned British-American editor and author whose career spanned 70 years, died in New York on Sept. 23 of congestive heart failure at the age of 92. 

He was former editor of the Sunday Times in the U.K., founded the magazine Condé Nast Traveler, and served as editor-at-large for Reuters until his death. 

Evans served as the OPC’s Awards Dinner Committee co-chair in 2011. In December 2009, the OPC hosted a book night for his book My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times, a memoir about his news career. Allan Dodds Frank, serving as the OPC’s president at the time, moderated.

During the event he recalled a grim start to his journalism career, leaving school at the age of 16 when Britain was in the shadow of German bombing raids, tasked with knocking on doors to get photos of dead soldiers from family members. 

“I couldn’t do it at first, but then I knocked on the first door and the family who answered invited me in for a cup of tea,” Evans said. “It was marvelous. I wrote 11 columns a week and got used to knocking on doors and asking questions.”

During Evans’ career he worked at U.S. News & World Report, The Atlantic Monthly, and the New York Daily News. He was known for investigative journalism on less-covered human rights and social justice issues such as the fate of children with severe birth defects from exposure in utero to the morning sickness drug thalidomide, and preventable cancer treatment for women in the U.K. 

He won several awards for his work, was named one of International Press Institute’s 50 World Press Freedom Heroes for the last half of the 20th century, and was knighted in 2004 for his service to journalism. 

He wrote several books, including The American Century, They Made America, and Do I Make Myself Clear?