MEDIA
11/30/2013 01:33 am ET Updated Nov 30, 2013

Peter Kaplan Dead: Legendary New York Observer Editor Dies At 59

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Peter Kaplan, a legendary and beloved editor who turned the New York Observer into a highly influential chronicler of the city's elite, has died at 59.

The New York Times reported on Friday that the cause was cancer.

Kaplan was an editor at the Observer for 15 years. During his time there its distinctive salmon-colored pages gained a reputation as an authoritative source on the activities and the foibles of New York's notables. More importantly, the paper became a breeding ground for journalistic talent, and Kaplan pioneered a sharp, sardonic tone that would go on to influence the entire architecture of the media world.

As the New Republic put it in a 2012 profile:

“It’s hard to find a major publication right now, in print or online, that’s not in some way flavored by the old Observer...subtract Kaplan from the media landscape of the past 20 years and you lose The Awl, much of Gawker and a good bit of Politico, too.”

Kaplan's career was wide ranging. He left the Observer in 2009, and was most recently the editorial director of the Fairchild Fashion Group. Besides his brothers James and Robert, Kaplan is survived by his second wife Lisa Chase and their son, as well as three children from a previous marriage to Audrey Walker.

In the Observer's article on the passing of its former editor, the author recalled a tribute Kaplan wrote on the death of another iconic editor, Clay Felker. The remembrance Kaplan wrote was titled “Never Hold Your Best Stuff" and according to the Observer, "Mr. Kaplan never did."

Kaplan's death prompted an outpouring of remembrances from the journalism world:

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