Former New York Observer Editor Peter Kaplan Dead at 59

Defined modern-day coverage of New York's power elites

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Peter Kaplan in New York, Nov. 5, 2009.

New York Observer‘s most famed editor, Peter Kaplan, died Saturday in Manhattan. He was 59.

Kaplan died of cancer, according to his brother James Kaplan.

The revered journalist is credited with inventing and refining the era of “vigorously reported, tart-tongued coverage of New York’s power elites” that now influences many other publications and websites. Kaplan was the longest serving editor at the Observer from 1994 to 2009, where he hired and mentored high-profile writers, including Nikki Finke, founder of the entertainment industry-driven site, editor-in-chief of The National Memo Joe Conason, and Choire Sicha of The Awl. He also is responsible for Candace Bushnell’s column, which later became the basis for the HBO television series Sex and the City, starring Sarah Jessica Parker.

Before overseeing the Observer, Kaplan was a reporter at The New York Times, an executive editor of business magazine Manhattan Inc., and the executive producer of Charlie Rose’s PBS talk show. Most recently, he was editorial director of Fairchild Fashion Media.

He is survived by his brother James Kaplan; his first wife Audrey Walker and their three children Caroline Kaplan, Charles Kaplan and Peter Walker Kaplan; as well as his second wife Lisa Chase and their son David Kaplan.

[The New York Times]