C. L. Sulzberger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the New York Times who sometimes played behind-the-scenes roles in the stories he covered, has died at 80.
Sulzberger, the author of two dozen books and a Times foreign affairs columnist for 24 years, died Monday at his Paris home.
He was a nephew of Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the Times’ publisher from 1935 to 1961, and a cousin of New York Times Co. Chairman Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who was publisher from 1963 to 1992.
But Cyrus Leo Sulzberger, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1934, decided to start his career elsewhere. He worked as a general assignment reporter for the Pittsburgh Press before joining United Press in Washington.
He also worked for other newspapers and periodicals in the United States and Europe before joining the New York Times in 1939 as a foreign correspondent. He went on to cover the battle lines of World War II in more than 30 countries for the newspaper.
He was the Times’ chief correspondent from 1944 to 1954, helping describe to readers a new Europe that rapidly was becoming divided with the emergence of the Cold War.
In 1951, he received a special Pulitzer Prize citation for his coverage of guerrilla movements in Yugoslavia and his stories on Marshal Josip Broz Tito.
He began his “Foreign Affairs” column in 1954, and it appeared three times a week on the Times’ editorial page until 1970, and then on the Op-Ed page until his retirement in 1978.
Sulzberger received awards from the Overseas Press Club for the best consistent reporting from abroad in 1951, and for excellence in reporting and writing in 1957 and 1970.
His aggressive reporting got him banned from several countries over the years, and in 1977 he was accused in an article in Rolling Stone magazine of having had a secret relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency.
After an extensive investigation, the Times concluded that Sulzberger was never a paid agent of the CIA.
Sulzberger acknowledged in his 1970 book, “The Last of the Giants,” that he sometimes had behind-the-scenes roles in the stories he covered.
In 1961, he recalled, Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev asked him during an interview in Moscow to take a message to President John F. Kennedy, and he did. The contents of the message were never revealed.
Sulzberger’s other books include “The Big Thaw,” published in 1956, and “Seven Continents and Forty Years,” a 1977 memoir of his career.
He is survived by a son, David Alexis Sulzberger; a daughter, Marina Sulzberger Berry, and two grandchildren. The funeral will be private.