Newspaper columnist Irv Kupcinet dies

Nov. 10, 2003 at 6:23 PM

CHICAGO, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Legendary Chicago newspaper columnist Irv Kupcinet died Monday from pneumonia at the age of 91.

Kupcinet had fallen ill Sunday and was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Medical Center complaining of shortness of breath.

Kupcinet was enormously popular, with Chicago city officials renaming the Wabash Avenue bridge near the Sun-Times Building in his honor 17 years before his death.

"Kup's Column" ran in the Sun-Times for 55 years, from 1948 until Thursday, and at one time was syndicated to more than 100 newspapers. Before that it ran five years in the old Chicago Times, where he began as a sports writer in 1935.

For many years he was the city's resident link with celebrities from Hollywood to New York, holding court at the Pump Room during an era when stars stopped to change trains at Union Station.

He co-hosted a long-running, late-night television show with his wife, Essee, devoted to the "lively art of conversation," and interviewed such celebrities as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Abbie Hoffman, Malcolm X and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

He won 15 local Emmys and a Peabody Award.

Kupcinet and late Hall of Fame announcer Jack Brickhouse broadcast Chicago Bears football games for 24 years.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

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