Lucien Carr dead at 79

Jan. 28, 2005 at 8:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Lucien Carr, who helped spawn the Beat generation and then guided the news report of United Press International over four decades, has died at the age of 79.

Carr, who was being treated for cancer, died Friday.

Intensely private, Carr was a close and influential friend of writers Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs -- the core of the anti-authoritarian, free-spirited Beat Generation -- who never sought to make a name for himself. He is best known publicly not for his writing but for providing Kerouac with a roll of teletype paper that Kerouac used to write his breakthrough novel "On the Road" so he would not have to break his train of thought by changing sheets of typing paper.

As a newsman, too, he much preferred the behind the scenes role of shaping news stories as an editor to the more high profile job of reporting. But while unknown to readers, he was legendary among generations of journalists.

Carr was hired by the United Press in 1946 as a copy boy, became night news editor in 1956, and went on to run the general news desk until retiring in 1993.

Former UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas, who worked with Carr for many years, said: "I think he was one of the greatest editors UPI has ever known."

Carr was born March 1, 1925, in St. Louis. In the 1940s, he attended Columbia University in New York City, where he met Kerouac and Ginsberg and introduced them to Burroughs, whom he knew from St. Louis.

Carr is survived by sons Simon of New York City, Caleb of Cherry Plain, N.Y., and Ethan of Amherst, Mass., and by five grandchildren.

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