Lillian Ross, known as a pioneer of literary journalism, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 99. The longtime reporter died at the Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.
Ross began her impressive career in journalism in 1945 when she joined the staff of "The New Yorker" as a "Talk of the Town" reporter. She appeared in the acclaimed magazine for the next 70+ years.
One of Ross' pieces that put her on the map was her in-depth profile of Ernest Hemingway. Her fame rapidly grew as she reported with transparency and creativity.
Ross was well-liked by young people all throughout her life. She was known for taking young people seriously and for teaching her generation to have the same respect.
Ross was never married, but late in her life she wrote about her long-time love, William Shawn. Shawn was the second editor of "The New Yorker." Ross adopted one son, who was born in 1965.
Ross was very adamant about staying out of the way from the subjects that she was reporting on.
She said, "Your attention at all times should be on your subject, not on you. Do not call attention to yourself."
When discussing her technique, she said, "You try not to get in the way of the person you’re trying to show. You are trying to follow along the person you’re interviewing, to respond to him instead of coming along with a lot of prepared questions, you just get him going. Just don’t bother him. And listen. It’s just a question of listening.”
While Ross was vastly criticized for choices she made in her personal life, her literary work has been highly acclaimed. She was on the forefront of journalism and one of the first in the business to add a story-like flare to reports.
Ross passed away peacefully in a hospital. Her longtime editor, Susan Morrison, reported that the cause of death was a stroke.
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