Following in the grand tradition of Finley Peter Dunne and Ring Lardner, Irv Kupcinet was one of Chicago's most legendary journalists, writing Kup's Column for sixty years. This past Monday Kupcinet passed away at the age of 91 due to complications arising from pneumonia. Born in 1912, Kupcinet grew up in the predominantly Jewish North Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago's West Side, where he later edited his high school's newspaper, then went on to school at Northwestern University and the University of North Dakota, where he played football. Before beginning his journalism career full-time, Kupcinet played for the Philadelphia Eagles and later presided over the 1940 football championship game between the Chicago Bears and the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field. Kup's Column debuted in 1943 and, after several decades, became the longest running column in U.S. newspaper history. Kupcinet was also a television pioneer, as he replaced Jack Paar on NBC's America after Dark in 1957, then proceeded to start his own television program, which ran from 1959 to 1986. During the show's tenure, it garnered 15 local Emmys and the renowned Peabody Award. At the funeral service held for Kupcinet this Wednesday at Temple Shalom on the city's North Side, Mayor Richard M. Daley remarked that "Chicago has been the home of many great writers...but only one has been called 'Mr. Chicago.'"
The first link will take visitors to a news piece from the Chicago Sun Times that profiles the life of the late Irv Kupcinet. The second link leads to an article from May 2003 from the Northwest Indiana Times that talks about Kupcinet's long career in journalism and a recent tribute held in his honor. The third link takes visitors to a special insert from the Sun-Times that features a number of photographs of Kupcinet at work and special essays written by a diverse set of Sun-Times journalists, including Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper, and his longtime assistant, Stella Foster. The fourth link contains a letter sent from former President Harry Truman to Kupcinet in 1963 that addresses the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan in order to bring a swift conclusion to World War II. The fifth link leads to a Chicago Sun-Times special feature where Kupcinet comments on the year 1948, which was originally published in 2000. The final link leads to a rather nice tribute to Kupcinet from the Museum of Broadcast Communications which includes several clips of his long-running television show.