Joe Nazel, 62; L.A. Journalist, Biographer of Black Luminaries

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Joe Nazel, 62, a Los Angeles journalist and author who wrote a series of biographies of such black luminaries as Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson, died Wednesday of brain cancer at Heritage Rehabilitation Center in Carson.

Nazel had been diagnosed with cancer last summer, his sister Charlotte Slater said.

A former editor at the L.A. Watts Times, the Sentinel and the Wave newspapers and Players magazine, Nazel wrote more than 60 books, including adventure novels and nonfiction.

He was born Joseph Gober Nazel Jr. on June 5, 1944, in Berkeley and grew up in Los Angeles.


His father, Joseph Sr., worked in maintenance for the Walt Disney Co., and his mother, Joyce, was a clerk for L.A. County.

Nazel received a bachelor’s degree from USC in 1972.