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Natalie Reiff Jones

Natalie Reiff Jones Obituary
Today is her 90th birthday. Natalie Reiff Jones left us earlier. She died of CardioRespiratory arrest in the arms of her husband of 64 years, EUGENE S. JONES at their Bel- Air home on September 16, 2014. In 1952 she became America's first staff foreign correspondent for a U.S. television network. A veteran reality film producer nominated 1974 Academy Award Documentary Feature Film category. For nearly a half century reporting from Africa to Arctic, and Russia to China, the MidEast to Latin America and much territory between. Born in Long Island November 27, 1924, Natalie commenced fulltime work age 17 on small newspapers upstate New York, was Public Affairs Manager Los Angeles firm undertaking the initial multi-city linked telecasts. In Manhattan ghost wrote a book for a celebrity, became Account Executive firm sponsoring NBC's nightly news broadcasts. There, both aged 25 she met Gene Jones the day he returned from filming Combat in Korea. Soon married and posted abroad, politics, war, penetration of some of the most remote, occasionally perilous locales on the planet periodically involved them in high risk situations. The Cold War dominated much of Nat's coverage. She was under fire Vietnam, talked Chairman Khruschev out of expelling self and camera crew from Moscow, experienced difficult assignments China, Haiti, Burma, Cuba, interviewed so many Heads of State including the Pope, gained first and only TV interview with MAFIA chief Lucky Luciano hidden Naples. She was near executed when captured by rebels Sudan and Uganda. She was imprisoned Egypt. Recipient of many honors, vigorous, brave, compassionate. Natalie knew, as many splendid correspondents then and now do, she must occasionally risk kidnapping, torture, beheading to get "inside" a complex story. For her, accepting that brutal reality was no casual thing. But with husband beside her as life colleague, she remained passionate in her search for journalistic truth, saying "Maybe I can help this beat up old world to become just a little better place during the short time I'm here. So she did. Requesting her entire estate be given to those urgently in need of help. $3 million goes to her Endowment For Special Needs Children at Chabad of North Ranch Jewish Community Center. $1 million to her UCLA Medical School Research Fund in aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Framed by her long support of Doctors Without Borders and The Southern Poverty Law Center. $4 million is intended for children of every creed and color across the world locked in poverty and despotism. Her 10,000 volumes home library has gone to Chabad. Her collections of Modern, Oriental, Tribal Art to museums and friends.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 27, 2014
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