DECOMBRAY--Richard, August 31, 1931 December 6, 2013. Richard de Combray was a New York-born citizen of the world who wrote about, photographed and spent most of his life in Europe and the Middle East. His books include Venice, Frail Barrier, Caravansary, Goodbye Europe, Lost in the City of Light, and Certain Restrictions May Apply. Always multi-talented, he was a singer and pianist as a teenager, first in American cities, then in Paris, and eventually at the Ruban Bleu in Manhattan. His photography studio in Rome became a social and intellectual center for American expatriates, and his own natural elegance inspired other artists to photograph and sculpt him, including a cameo appearance in the film, "Tender Is the Night." The son of Joseph and Miriam Harris of New York, he was educated at Stuyvesant High School, the Rhodes School, University of Wisconsin, University of Bridgeport and New York University. He moved to Europe in 1960, and in recent years, lived in Manhattan, La Colle sur Loup and Venice. For four years, he taught writing at Marymount College, and published a collection of his students' writings. He is survived by Miles Morgan, his life partner of 59 years, by a nephew Jed Harris, a niece Mara Bayless, and by former wife Natalie Hough de Combray. He is also survived by many friends for whom he was a teacher of creativity, kindness, beauty and the importance of friendship itself.
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Published in The New York Times on Dec. 13, 2013