Hedley Donovan, Henry Luce's hand-chosen successor as editor-in-chief of the Time Inc. publishing empire, died Monday in New York Hospital after what a company spokesman described only as a long illness.
Donovan, dubbed "Pope Moses II" by Time staffers after succeeding Luce, was 76, and had lived in Manhattan and Sands Point, Long Island. More recently, he had served from 1979-80 as personal adviser to President Jimmy Carter.
As the company's top editor from 1964 to 1979, Donovan continued the evolution of Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Time magazines while presiding over the demise of Life magazine as a weekly publication.
During his tenure, Time Inc. also introduced two magazines, People and Money.
Donovan commanded an editorial staff of 1,400 people. In his 1989 autobiography, "Right Places, Right Times: 40 Years In Journalism, Not Counting My Paper Route," Donovan wrote: "I managed them--to the extent . . . that such people can be managed at all--by appointing their bosses, and managing them. To the extent they can be managed."
A self-described "political independent with conservative leanings," Donovan oversaw an editorial policy shift in Time Inc.'s magazines from the orthodox Republican views of Luce to a more independent stance.
Initially a staunch advocate of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam policy, Donovan eventually came to agree with his correspondents and senior editors who had grown increasingly pessimistic that the war could be won.
A longtime supporter of Richard M. Nixon, Time--in a post-Watergate editorial in 1973--demanded the President's resignation.
Donovan graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota in 1934 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He won a Rhodes scholarship and took a second bachelor's degree in history at Oxford's Hertford College in 1936.
Donovan began his career in 1937, as a reporter for the Washington Post, and covered the State Department, Capitol Hill and the White House. Entering the Navy in 1942, he served as an intelligence officer and rose to the rank of lieutenant commander.
When the war ended, Donovan joined Fortune as a writer, rose to managing editor in 1953, and then was handpicked by Luce to become editorial director of Time Inc., now Time Warner Inc., and Luce's heir apparent.