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Globetrotting journalist, editor worked on Sun-Times' Mirage Tavern probe

Stuart Loory

Stuart “Stu” H. Loory, a former Chicago Sun-Times managing editor who helped oversee the Mirage Tavern investigation, has died.

“He worked with us on [the Mirage series] and was extremely helpful,” said WBBM-TV’s Pam Zekman, a former Sun-Times reporter.

“As you can imagine, there were an incredible amount of hurdles to address and answer and issues to work out and staff needs that needed to be fulfilled,” Zekman said. “He helped get it done.”

“As a reporter, as a writer, as an editor and as a human being, Stu Loory was as good as it gets,” said former Sun-Times reporter Zay Smith.

RELATED: Read the Mirage Tavern series archives

Zekman and Smith worked together on the Mirage probe, an eye-opening investigation in which the Sun-Times and the Better Government Association teamed to buy and operate a bar at 731 N. Wells, dubbing it the “Mirage.” In no time, it attracted shakedown-sniffing city inspectors, among other corrupt characters, illustrating ingrained Chicago graft.

Mr. Loory, 82, who had cancer, died Friday night in Brooklyn, where he lived with his wife Nina Kudrievtseva-Loory, a former Bolshoi ballerina.

Born in Pennsylvania, he grew up in New Jersey and attended Cornell University, where he was editor of the Cornell Daily Sun, said his son, Joshua. He obtained a master’s degree at Columbia University and won a Pulitzer traveling fellowship based in Vienna.

Mr. Loory was a journalist in Moscow in the early 1960s, a reporter for the New York Times, a science writer for the New York Herald Tribune and a White House correspondent for the Los Angeles Times during the Johnson and Nixon administrations.

He co-authored a book, “The Secret Search for Peace in Vietnam,” which mirrored the Pentagon Papers, top secret documents about U.S. Indochinese policy that were leaked to the New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg. Mr. Loory refused to divulge his sources when called to testify in 1973 at Ellsberg’s espionage and theft trial.

He was managing editor of the Sun-Times before helping to get CNN going in its earliest days. Like CNN founder Ted Turner , Mr. Loory could be intense. Working for Turner, Smith recalled Mr. Loory joked, “was about the same as [New York Yankees owner] George Steinbrenner hiring [manager] Billy Martin.”

Mr. Loory ran CNN’s Washington bureau, then was Moscow bureau chief before returning to Washington, where he was the network’s national security correspondent, among other jobs he would hold there.

It was in Moscow that he met his second wife, who was co-founder of an international ballet competition, Benois de la Danse.

Mr. Loory also had stints teaching in Beijing and at The Ohio State University and the University of Missouri.

After his globetrotting, “He promised Nina a big city,” and they settled in Brooklyn, his son said.

Mr. Loory is also survived by a daughter, Miriam Krombach; another son, Adam; a stepson, Lyoka Tarasov; a brother, Melvyn; and eight grandchildren.

His first marriage, to the late Marjorie Dretel, ended in divorce.

A private family service will be held Tuesday in Brooklyn. A memorial isbeing planned for a future date.

The Mirage Tavern, Part I by Marcus Gilmer