NEW YORK - Otto Fuerbringer, the hard-driving, conservative-leaning managing editor of Time magazine during the political and social upheavals of the 1960s - a time of change for the magazine, too - died Monday at his retirement home in Fullerton, Calif. He was 97.
His death was confirmed by his son Jonathan.
With political inclinations attuned to those of Time's founder, Henry R. Luce, with whom he had a close working relationship, Mr. Fuerbringer was appointed to the magazine's top editorial position in 1960. The Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War, political assassinations, mass protests, and a roiling youth culture were the stuff of headlines and Time magazine cover stories during Mr. Fuerbringer's eight years as managing editor.
His tenure marked a shifting, if not quite a liberalizing, of Time's political positions. From the earliest days of US intervention in Vietnam, Time had supported the war.A major shift came in 1968, the last year of his editorship, when Mr. Fuerbringer wrote an article that said the war could not be won ...
...Mr. Fuerbringer brought a vibrancy and a degree of controversy to what had long been a rather taut, tartly written publication.
Unlike in most previous issues, Time's lead story on April 8, 1966, had no portrait on the cover, just a bold-red headline on a black background that asked, "Is God Dead?" It was an indication of Mr. Fuerbringer's willingness to examine cultural shifts and previously taboo subjects.
"Is God Dead?" the article began. "It is a question that tantalizes both believers, who perhaps secretly fear that he is, and atheists, who possibly suspect that the answer is no." The article set off a backlash by religious conservatives...
He lived in Greenwich, Conn., for more than 45 years. In an interview with Greenwich magazine in 1991, Mr. Fuerbringer summed up his time as managing editor succinctly and with decided understatement: "We were very lucky in the '60s. It was a newsy decade."....
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