Longtime Hollywood Journalist, Author Dies At 96

LOS ANGELES (AP) — James Bacon, who began his career at The Associated Press in the 1940s and spent 75 years chronicling Hollywood’s biggest stars as a reporter, author and syndicated columnist, has died. He was 96.

Family friend Stan Rosenfield says Bacon died in his sleep of congestive heart failure Saturday at his Northridge home.

As a reporter for the AP and later as columnist for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Bacon had a knack for befriending A-list celebrities. He palled around with John Wayne, shared whisky with Frank Sinatra, was a confidant of Marilyn Monroe and met eight U.S. presidents.

He also had small parts in many movies and wrote three best-selling books, including Jackie Gleason’s autobiography “How Sweet It Is,” which he co-authored.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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