Editor hired 'Sex and the City' columnist
Peter Kaplan, 59, the former editor of the New York Observer who hired a then-unknown Candace Bushnell to write a column called "Sex and the City," died Friday of cancer in New York City, said his wife, Lisa Chase.
He edited the Observer from 1994 to 2009. The salmon-colored weekly has a reach beyond its circulation of about 50,000 because it is read by the Manhattan-based movers and shakers it covers.
Kaplan was credited with honing the paper's snarky tone and hiring writers who became influential voices.
Bushnell's column about love and dating inspired the hit HBO cable TV series "Sex and the City" starring Sarah Jessica Parker.
"The more cancellations we got for her column," Kaplan wrote in New York magazine in 2011, "the more the paper knew we had hit the jackpot."
Other writers who worked under Kaplan at the Observer include Joe Conason, who is now editor-in-chief of the political website the National Memo, and Nikki Finke, who founded Deadline.com.
After leaving the Observer, Kaplan was hired as the editorial creative director at Conde Nast Traveler. In 2010, he was named editorial director of the Fairchild Fashion Group, now Fairchild Fashion Media, a division of Conde Nast Publications.
Born in New York City on Feb. 10, 1954, he grew up in suburban New Jersey. He received a bachelor's degree from Harvard and was a stringer for Time magazine.
He was a familiar face in Manhattan media even before joining the Observer. In the mid-1980s, he covered the television industry for the New York Times and also had been executive producer for Charlie Rose's talk show on PBS.
Sculptor of Mormon Angel Moroni
Karl Quilter, 84, a sculptor whose works of the Angel Moroni stand atop most Mormon temples, died Wednesday at his home near Salt Lake City. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2010, but it was removed and he continued sculpting until the day he unexpectedly died, family members said.
His rendering of the Angel Moroni tops the spires of more than 100 temples, according to officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Worldwide, there are more than 140 temples, which are considered sacred to Mormons and are used for religious rituals. There are seven in California. The Moroni atop the Los Angeles temple was one of the few in the U.S. not designed by Quilter; the artist was Millard F. Malin.
Mormons believe the Angel Moroni led church founder Joseph Smith to the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon originated.
Quilter also sculpted the life-size Nativity scene displayed outside most Mormon temples during Christmastime, his family said, as well as oxen that are part of many baptismal fonts.
Studying sculpture at the University of Utah, he experimented with fiberglass, which was much lighter than traditional bronze or other metals used to make the angels for temples at the time.
The lighter material made the sculptures more compliant with building codes, as well as easier to transport and mount.
Columnist and writing teacher
Joseph Bell, 92, a retired columnist for the Daily Pilot, a Times Community Newspaper in Orange County, and a former teacher of nonfiction writing at UC Irvine, died Thursday at his home in Newport Beach. The cause was Parkinson's disease, his wife Sherry Angel said.
Bell, a liberal voice in a mainly conservative area, wrote his last weekly column in 2011, nearly 20 years after William Lobdell, then the Daily Pilot's editor, recruited him for the job. Lobdell had taken Bell's beginning writing class and the lessons stuck.
"I only had one journalism teacher, and that was enough," Lobdell, a former Los Angeles Times reporter who is now communications director for Costa Mesa, told the Daily Pilot. "Joe was enough. He was tough, fair, and he loved a good story."
Bell was born in Bluffton, Ind., on July 4, 1921, and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind.
When he was a junior at the University of Missouri in 1942, he enlisted in the Naval Air Corps and flew in the South Pacific. Returning to his studies in Missouri, he received a journalism degree in 1946.
Bell wrote freelance articles for many publications, including Harper's, Good Housekeeping, Saturday Review, the Saturday Evening Post, the Christian Science Monitor and Reader's Digest. He also wrote "Seven Into Space," a book based on his interviews with the Mercury astronauts, and five other nonfiction works.
He relished his jabs at Orange County's conservatism and in 1969 wrote a piece for Look magazine in which he called the county "a kind of national political nut house."
In the 1970s, he wrote Hollywood celebrity profiles as well as more serious pieces on social issues.
Bell wrote numerous freelance pieces for The Times. From 1987 to 1991, he wrote two columns weekly for The Times' Orange County edition, one focusing on seniors and the other on local personalities.
Times staff and wire reportsCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times