Newspaper veteran Larry Burrough, who was the city editor at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and then a deputy editor at the Orange County Register where he oversaw a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative series, died Monday in Yakima, Wash. He was 66.
Burrough had surgery in December to remove a cancerous brain tumor and never fully recovered, said his sister, Nancy Yuckert.
"He was a huge personality, born for the news business," said Ed Stover, who worked with Burrough at three newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. "He was charged up all the time, hard-working and hard-living, an old-style newspaper guy."
Burrough was senior editor on a 1995 Register series on UC Irvine's Center for Reproductive Health that brought to light fraudulent and unethical practices, including egg theft from unsuspecting patients and insurance fraud.
As a result of the articles, which won a 1996 Pulitzer, the clinic was closed. Two prominent doctors connected with the clinic fled the country and were later indicted on federal mail fraud and tax evasion charges.
"Larry was a great newspaperman, fiercely competitive and, in the case of UCI, fearless about taking on a powerful institution," said Kim Christensen, a lead reporter on the story who is now with the Los Angeles Times. "Rather than back away from a tough story, his attitude was always, 'Hey, pal, there's more where that came from.'"
Lawrence Burrough was born Aug. 19, 1947, in Ellensburg, Wash. He received a bachelor's degree in journalism from what is now Central Washington University and worked as a reporter at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver.
Stover met him in 1975 when Burrough was the city editor at the Yakima Herald Republic. "With his flaming red hair and beard, and intense blue eyes and all this energy, it was like he stuck his finger in a light socket," Stover said. At his next paper, the Bellevue Journal-American, he reportedly sometimes slept in the newsroom.
In the early 1980s, he landed at the free-wheeling L.A. Herald Examiner, where he pushed for stories that would connect with local readers.
When that paper folded in 1989, Burrough went to the Register, which was locked in fierce competition with The Times' Orange County edition.
After about 10 years at the Register, Burrough went to the Denver Post in 2000 for a brief stint as managing editor for news.
He moved back to Ellensburg in 2006 to care for his ailing father. But he never lost his love of journalism, no matter on what scale. Using his home computer, he wrote a short monthly news bulletin about his neighborhood. "He wrote about different things that were going on," his sister Anna Zaharris said. "He'd put in some of his recipes. And then we'd distribute them to the porch of every house."
In addition to his sisters, Burrough is survived by his daughter, Grace; son Max; and brother Jim. His marriages to Tracy Weber and Joyce McGinnes ended in divorce.