Joe Alex Morris Sr., 85; Author and Journalist

From United Press International

Joe Alex Morris Sr., an internationally known journalist and author, died Jan. 16 at a hospital here after a long illness. He was 85 and had suffered a stroke in 1987 from which he never fully recovered.

Morris had joined United Press, the predecessor of United Press International, in New York in 1929, served as New York and Washington news editor, and foreign editor from 1938 until he left to become foreign editor of the old New York Herald Tribune in 1944.

Morris eventually became United Press’ historian, writing a book he called “Deadline Every Minute.”

His son, journalist Joe Alex Morris Jr., a Los Angeles Times correspondent, was shot to death in Tehran in February, 1979, while covering the violent final days of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi’s reign.


Morris Sr. was a graduate of the University of Missouri and its Graduate School of Journalism. He joined the U.S. Daily, predecessor of U.S. News and World Report, in Washington, covering the U.S. Senate.

In 1945, Morris was named managing editor of Collier’s magazine, a post he held for five years. He then became a contributing editor of the Saturday Evening Post and wrote articles for other magazines, including National Geographic.

He was a prolific writer whose books included “First Offender,” “The Birdwatcher,” “Nelson Rockefeller,” “Those Rockefeller Brothers,” “Dear Mr. President” and “It Happened Here,” an account of school desegregation in Little Rock, Ark.

He collaborated with Sen. Arthur Vandenberg on “The Private Papers of Sen. Vandenberg,” with Eleanor Roosevelt on “On My Own” and with Gen. Mark Clark on “Calculated Risk.”