Dean Brelis, 82; foreign correspondent also wrote nonfiction, novels

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Dean Brelis, 82, a journalist who worked as a foreign correspondent for NBC, CBS and Time magazine and wrote novels and nonfiction books, died Friday of complications from throat cancer at his daughter’s home in Santa Monica.

Born Constantinos Christos Brelis on April 1, 1924, to Greek immigrants in Newport, R.I., he enlisted in the Army in 1942 and was soon assigned to work in military intelligence for the Office of Strategic Services. While stationed in Burma, he received a Bronze Star.

After World War II he attended Harvard, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1949, and began his journalism career writing for the Boston Globe.

He worked as a correspondent for Time-Life from 1949 to 1954, then in 1958 published his first novel, “The Mission,” which was loosely based on his experiences in Burma. Two more novels followed: “Shalom” (1959) and “My New-Found Land” (1963).


In the early 1960s he joined NBC, filing dispatches from the Middle East, North Africa, Cyprus and Vietnam before anchoring the KNBC-TV Channel 4 nightly news in Los Angeles in 1967.

That year he also collaborated with photojournalist Jill Krementz on “The Face of South Vietnam,” a nonfiction work that examined the war’s impact.

Next was a stint with CBS News, and then in 1974 Brelis returned to Time as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. “I usually cover wars, politics and disasters,” Brelis said in 1986, two years before he retired.