Rick Orlov, veteran reporter at Los Angeles City Hall, dies at 66

Rick Orlov, L.A. Daily News reporter covering City Hall for nearly 30 years, dies at 66

Rick Orlov, a veteran reporter who covered City Hall for the Los Angeles Daily News for nearly 30 years, has died. He was 66.

Orlov died Monday in Los Angeles of complications from diabetes, according to his sister, Joanne Levy.

She said Orlov, who had been on dialysis for years, suffered a fall a few weeks ago and had been hospitalized. A prolific writer, Orlov was working up to the very end, filing several stories last week.

"Rick was a rare human being whose strength of character defined him in a way that engendered deep respect from anyone who knew him," Michael A. Anastasi, vice president of news of the Los Angeles News Group and executive editor of the Daily News, said in a statement.  "He cared about his craft, he cared about his colleagues, and he cared about his city. He was as passionate about journalism as anyone I've ever met and he always knew it wasn't about him -- it was always, always about the reader."

A stalwart of the City Hall press corps since the days when Mayor Tom Bradley was in office, Orlov earned a reputation for his tough questions and thorough analysis of the inner workings of California’s largest city.

“Los Angeles is a big business,” he told Los Angeles magazine in a 2006 interview. “It’s a $7-billion-a-year corporation. It passes laws where it can take your property, throw you in jail, and other things. People should care.”

Rick Orlov was born April 12, 1948, in Chicago. He worked at the Copley News Service in Los Angeles in the 1970s before moving to the Los Angeles Daily News in 1978.

After spending a few years as an assistant city editor, the newspaper said, he asked to move back to reporting.

He began covering City Hall in 1988, with a career spanning five mayors.

In 1990, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He was given the Los Angeles Press Club's Joseph M. Quinn award for lifetime achievement in 2009.

Orlov’s passing brought an outpouring of remembrances from friends, former competitors and some of those he covered.

“City Hall is in mourning,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement about Orlov, whom he dubbed the “Dean of the City Hall Press Corps.”

“Rick was a true pro –- on the record, he was fair and tough; off the record, he was frank and told it like it was,” Garcetti said.

Jim Newton, a former Los Angeles Times reporter, editor and local government columnist, hailed Orlov in a Twitter post as “a solid journalist, a generous friend and a good man. He made Los Angeles better.”

“Rick Orlov was one of the best in the business and a hell of a person,” wrote Sean Clegg, a former Los Angeles deputy mayor and Democratic strategist.

Rob Stutzman, a veteran GOP strategist in Sacramento, tweeted Monday that “LA lost an institution, ” in Orlov’s death.

“Farewell to an absolute pro from the Old School,” wrote H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance. “RIP Rick Orlov.”

The Daily News is planning a public memorial service next week. 

A complete obituary will follow at latimes.com/obits.

Times staff writer Christine Mai-Duc contributed to this report.

Twitter: @katelinthicum, @markzbarabak

 

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