Journalist George Krimsky, who covered Manson arrest, dies

WASHINGTON, Conn. (AP) — Journalist and author George Krimsky, who covered Charles Manson’s arrest, the Lebanese civil war and dissident activity in the Soviet Union and later co-founded a center for international journalists, has died at age 75.

Krimsky, who lived in Washington with his wife of 46 years, died Friday after a yearlong battle with lung cancer, his family said Saturday. He had a career that spanned nearly five decades, much of that spent abroad or working in international affairs.

Krimsky grew up in New York, California and Connecticut, where he graduated in 1960 from The Gunnery prep school. After attending Middlebury College, he joined the Army in 1962. Following three years of military service, during which he studied Russian and lived in Germany, he returned home and took a job as a reporter for The Republican newspaper in Waterbury.

In 1969 he began working for The Associated Press in Los Angeles, where he covered Manson’s arrest following the killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and several other people, a 1971 earthquake that killed scores of people and the slayings of at least 25 migrant farm workers, among the worst serial murder cases in U.S. history.

He later worked for the AP at its New York headquarters and then, in 1974, was posted to the Soviet Union as a correspondent. His Russian ancestry and command of the language gave him access to political dissidents including nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov, the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Krimsky held secret meetings with Josef Stalin’s grandson Josef Alliluyev, who pleaded with Krimsky to help him arrange a visit to the U.S. to see his mother, from whom he had been painfully separated when she left him to seek freedom in the West. In the end, Alliluyev’s defection never happened.

Krimsky was expelled from the Soviet Union following Soviet media allegations of unspecified “intelligence activities,” what he called a false charge of espionage.

Krimsky then was stationed by the AP in the Middle East, where he was based in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war. He returned to New York in 1979 and later was appointed editor of AP’s World News Services.

He left the AP in 1985 to help establish what became the International Center for Journalists, a training and help center for journalists around the world, in Washington, D.C.

He worked as an independent media consultant, a journalism trainer, a reporter and a columnist before retiring in 2012.

He wrote about media issues throughout his career. He co-authored the book “Hold the Press: The Inside Story on Newspapers,” which explained the newspaper industry to regular people, and wrote “Bringing the World Home: Showing Readers Their Global Connections,” a newsroom handbook.

He also co-authored “Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith,” about a slave who bought his freedom and became a prominent Connecticut businessman.

Krimsky’s relatives said he requested they not hold a memorial service so they’ll have a gathering for family and friends in his honor instead.

“His life,” the family said in an emailed statement, “was definitely worth celebrating.”