Garry Abrams, 58; Columnist for L.A. Daily Journal, Former Times Reporter

Times Staff Writer

Garry Abrams, an award-winning columnist for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, a newspaper that covers the legal community in Southern California, died Saturday of prostate cancer at his home in South Pasadena. He was 58.

Abrams, a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, had been battling the disease for eight years. He died a day after the 18th birthday of his daughter, Andrea.

The journalist was still filing his column until a couple of weeks ago.


“That’s when I knew it was serious,” Journal Editor Martin Berg told The Times on Tuesday. “He called me and said he couldn’t write the column. The work was very important to him.”

Berg remembered Abrams as low-key. “He didn’t draw attention to himself. But he stood out with the terrific stories he wrote.... A lot of the people he wrote about, even critical stories, became his friends. He had a generous heart and a wicked sense of humor.”

A native of Clay County, Ky., Abrams wrote for his high school paper and the Berea Citizen in Berea, Ky. At Berea College, he was removed as editor of the school paper for being too vocal in his opposition to the Vietnam War.

Abrams, who was politically active, worked with groups urging civil rights for all and those protesting strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. He also managed some local political campaigns.

After spending some time backpacking through New Zealand and Fiji, Abrams came to Los Angeles, where he worked for Fairchild Publications as the West Coast business correspondent for Women’s Wear Daily. He also contributed to Fairchild’s publication W.

He later worked for the California Apparel News in Los Angeles.

He began writing for the View section of The Times in 1981 and produced stories on topics as varied as the down and out on skid row and the latest musings of the literary elite.

After leaving The Times in 1993, Abrams worked as a free-lance writer before joining the Daily Journal as a reporter in 1995, initially covering the entertainment industry. He began his column a couple of years later.

In 1999, the American Board of Trial Advocates presented its highest journalism award, the National Media Award for Excellence in Legal Reporting, to Abrams for his “uncompromising commitment to the pursuit of truth.”

In addition to his daughter, Abrams is survived by his wife, Diana Durham Abrams; his mother, Sally Dean; a sister, Penny Dean; and a brother, Jerry Abrams.

An educational fund for his daughter has been established in his memory. Contributions may be sent to Myrna Reyes, c/o City National Bank, Andrea Abrams Education Fund, 555 S. Flower St., 12th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90071.

Services will be private.