ANTHONY MAZZOLA

Obituary
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MAZZOLA--Anthony T., Former editor in chief of Town&Country and Harper's BAZAAR, and the curator of Hearst Corporation's fine art collection, died May 21 in New York. He was 90. "Anthony Mazzola was a dynamic member of the Hearst Magazines family for more than 65 years," said Steven R. Swartz, president and CEO, Hearst Corporation. "Tony will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of working with him." Frank A. Bennack, Jr., former CEO and now executive vice chairman of Hearst Corporation, added, "Tony Mazzola's contributions to Harper's BAZAAR and Town&Country have not only influenced those titles as they appear even today but our entire magazine business." Mazzola, the editor who defined affluence and style for millions of readers at the two magazines for 44 years, started his career at Hearst as an art director. In 1948, at the age of 25, Mazzola joined Town&Country as the youngest art director in the magazine's history. He held that post for nearly two decades, ultimately becoming editor in chief in 1965. Town&Country is the longest continuously published general-interest magazine in America, having been founded in 1846. "Tony Mazzola was one of the most creative editors I've known," said Hearst Corporation Director Gilbert C. Maurer. "A man of great personal style, he intuitively knew what good looked like and his work at Town&Country and Harper's BAZAAR reflected that acute sensibility. Tony was a loyal friend as well as a valuable mentor to a generation of our younger talents." Building on what he once described as his "fascination with trends," Mazzola's Town&Country began to reflect the current events and social reorganization then affecting elite American society as the nation mourned the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and grappled with civil rights, the Vietnam War and the first stirrings of modern-day feminism. Mazzola said he was captivated "not by what's happening, but why." While still the magazine's art director in 1964, he published a tongue-in-cheek "It's Fun to Be Rich" issue. In 1966, his first year as Town&Country's editor in chief, he put the Rolling Stones on the cover of what was widely held to be the bible of conservative, blue-blooded America. The ensuing controversy prompted Hearst's executives to ask him, "Young man, do you know what you're doing?" "I think so," he replied. In fact, Mazzola did: By maintaining a meticulous balance between creating an exciting magazine and conveying the dignity of the subjects he presented, he broadened Town&Country's appeal and honored its audience. "People make fun of money," he once said, "but everyone forgets the good that money has done." In 1972, Mazzola was appointed editor in chief of Harper's BAZAAR and expanded his editorial style even further. He relished the opportunity to widen the magazine's scope, which he again did in 1983 by adapting its pages to reflect newly emerging trends such as the more mature, sophisticated fashions--and celebrities--of the time, and readers' increasing interest in lifestyle, as well as fashion, content. "We love the handle of being the fashion magazine with a little salt and pepper added," he said of BAZAAR in a 1983 interview. "We appeal to a woman with a very strong confidence level, who is sure of herself, not wishy-washy. She wants to know everything there is to know...and we have become the fashion and beauty book with personality, the one with heart." At the end of the decade, Mazzola again redesigned the magazine, this time to appeal to readers as they matured from trendy to classic tastes. Striving for what he called a "very unconventional, exciting visual product," Mazzola encouraged photographers such as Francesco Scavullo, Rico Puhlmann and Matthew Rolston to take dramatic, even abstract approaches to fashion. One result was a celebrated shot described by a writer as "a woman and a cabbage leaf facing off" to illustrate a story on vegetable dyes used in hair coloring. After he stepped down as editor in chief in 1992, Mazzola edited BAZAAR's 125th anniversary book in 1993. The project was both professionally and personally rewarding. "Reliving the history of this great magazine and knowing that I had a role in it is a great privilege," he said. In 1995, he was editorial director of Town&Country's two-volume 150th anniversary book. Mazzola was also the fine arts curator for Hearst Corporation, whose fine art collection emphasizes works on paper and emerging talents, many of whom have become household names since the collection was started. In addition to curating and cataloguing the collection, he produced many art and photography shows for Hearst Tower. Mazzola graduated from The Cooper Union with honors in 1948 and received The Cooper Union's distinguished alumni citation in 1992. After beginning study at The Cooper Union, he was drafted into World War II. His art background prompted an assignment to army intelligence, where he analyzed camouflage. He was awarded a Bronze Star for "meritorious achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy in Luzon, Philippine Islands." A recipient of numerous awards in the art direction and design fields, Mazzola was inducted as a Knight Officer of the Order of Merit by the Republic of Italy in 1967. He also served as a consultant and designer for such organizations as the United Nations Children's Fund, the Association of Junior Leagues of America, Princess Marcella Borghese, Inc., General Foods, Columbia Pictures, Inc. and the New York World's Fair of 1965. Mazzola is survived by his wife, Michele Morgan Mazzola, who worked with him at Hearst for over 45 years, and three children, Alisa Mazzola Mitchell, Marc Mazzola and Tony Mazzola. He is also survived by five grandchildren. There will be a private funeral in Indiana, and a memorial in New York at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, PO Box 27106, New York, NY 10087-7105 or http://www.mskcc.org/giving).

Published in The New York Times on May 23, 2014
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