Richard Hollander, 73, who rose from a $10-a-week copy boy to become editor of the old Washington Daily News, died of renal failure Aug. 26 at his home in Washington.
Mr. Hollander joined the Daily News in 1929 when he was hired while a freshman at Georgetown University to cover college basketball at $1 a game, and he left college at the end of the academic year to take a permanent job as a copy boy at the paper. With the exception of service with the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency, and a brief stint at the old Washington Times Herald, he remained on the News' staff until the newspaper folded in 1972 when it was purchased by the old Washington Star.
His underlying philosophy during his stewardship of the News was that the newspaper "should place its emphasis on individual people: upon their hopes and fears and aggressions, their follies, their unexpected moments of greatness and their melancholy failures."
Mr. Hollander had a reputation as a gentle, witty newspaperman who tried to promote the literary flavor of the tabloid News and to help make it a training ground for good writers.
He held almost every major editorial post at the News. He became managing editor in 1939, left briefly to join the old Times-Herald shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, then returned to the News as managing editor again in 1946. He was named editor in 1966.
From 1972 until he retired in 1977, Mr. Hollander was a national editorial writer with the Washington Bureau of the Scripps-Howard Newspapers, which had owned the News.
Jack Howard, chairman of the executive committee of Scripps-Howard, said Mr. Hollander was "always in calm, confident control of whatever situation faced him."
A native of New York City who moved to Washington when he was 7, Mr. Hollander graduated from the old Western High School before enrolling at Georgetown. He tended to think of Washington as his home town more than a capital city, and former colleagues at the News said this thinking was reflected in the News' news columns.
During the riots that followed the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, Mr. Hollander watched sections of the city burn from the roof of the old News building on 13th Street NW and his city editor, Stan Felder, remembered Mr. Hollander bursting into tears at the sight.
But he returned immediately to the newsroom to direct his paper's coverage.
Mr. Hollander's wartime service with the OSS included nearly four years overseas in Britain, France, North Africa, Luxembourg and Germany as a liaison officer between British and American forces. He composed leaflets calling upon the enemy to surrender, did propaganda broadcasts in German and interrogated prisoners.
When Mr. Hollander joined the service, a few months before Pearl Harbor, Cissy Patterson, the publisher of the old Times Herald who had lured him from the News to become her city editor, said in a front page editorial that he was "an incurable romantic."
Mr. Hollander is survived by his wife, Cornelia, a former women's page editor of the News, and a son, Jackson, both of Washington.