We’ve received the sad news that long-time UPI Photos Managing Editor Larry DeSantis has passed away at 85.
Larry, until a recent move to Staten Island, had been a life-long resident of Brooklyn. He was a recipient of the NYPPA “Louie Liotta” Life-time Achievement Award.” The following is an edited version of UPI’s obituary:
Known as a hardscrabble newsman with an eye for outstanding photography and a loving family man with a helping hand for anyone who needed it, DeSantis left a lasting impression on many people around the world.
DeSantis, spent some 40 years making sure only the best photos made it into the public eye and ensuring his photographers worked to their fullest potential. By the time he retired in the early 1990s, he had launched the careers of some of the best photographers today. DeSantis died Saturday after complications from a stroke.
“Larry really was the best photo editor I ever worked with,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly, who later became President Gerald Ford’s White House photographer. “I directly attribute my Pulitzer Prize to his choices.”
In the newsroom, the cigar-chomping DeSantis was known for his expertise in picking out the best pictures from rolls of negatives and never mincing words when he thought they were shoddy. He kept photographers on their toes, always pushing them to do better. Photographers, in turn, wanted to impress DeSantis, a tough thing to do at times. He never let anyone make excuses and expected only the best.
When he wasn’t working in the newsroom, DeSantis showed just as much exuberance at home. He married his high school sweetheart, AnnMarie, in 1951 and just recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary. They went on to have three daughters, Barbara, Lorraine and Deborah, who died in 2012.
Daughter Barbara Amari said her father was proud of the work he did, filling their house with photos of him with dignitaries. One of his favorites was a photo of him and AnnMarie greeting President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan.