Fleet Street legend Sir Harold Evans dies aged 92

Fleet Street legend Sir Harold Evans has died in New York aged 92.

The former editor of The Sunday Times and editor-at-large for the Reuters news agency died of congestive heart failure, his wife Tina Brown said.

Born in Manchester in 1928, Sir Harold began his career at a weekly newspaper in Ashton-under-Lyne aged 16.

Sir Harold Evans and his wife Tina Brown
Sir Harold Evans and his wife Tina Brown

He later rose through the newspaper industry with roles including assistant editor of the Manchester Evening News and, after a stint in the US, as editor of The Northern Echo in Darlington.

Sir Harold became editor of The Sunday Times (ST) in the late 1960s, and editor of The Times soon after Rupert Murdoch bought the paper in 1981.

He left the paper around a year later after clashing with Mr Murdoch over editorial independence.

Sir Harold was renowned for his promotion of investigative journalism.

One of the most famous conducted under his stewardship was that of exposing the plight of hundreds of British thalidomide children who were not compensated for their birth defects.

He was married to Ms Brown for nearly 40 years, with the couple moving to the US a few years after he left The Times.

Sir Harold also wrote several best-selling books, including The American Century in 1998 and the sequel They Made America in 2004.

Tributes have been paid by other journalists to the “inspiring” former Sunday Times editor.

Sir Harold Evans with a group of thalidomide victims at the premiere of Attacking The Devil
Sir Harold Evans with a group of thalidomide victims at the premiere of Attacking The Devil

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan described Sir Harold as a “witty, charming, fiercely intelligent man” and said the thalidomide scandal had “epitomised his crusading, campaigning, fearless style”.

He wrote on Twitter: “RIP Sir Harry Evans, 92. One of the all-time great newspaper editors.

“His stunning Thalidomide investigation when he ran the Sunday Times epitomised his crusading, campaigning, fearless style.

“A wonderful journalist & a witty, charming, fiercely intelligent man. Very sad news.”

Kevin Maguire, associate editor of the Daily Mirror, tweeted: “RIP Harold Evans, inspiring former editor of the Northern Echo and Sunday Times.

“Embodied the best of journalism incl at the ST exposing the thalidomide scandal.”

I am so grateful Harry Evans became my mentor and friend, and all of us at Reuters are blessed to have worked with him and learned from him these past 10 years. His example will continue to guide us. https://t.co/mnXqzL0a1n

— Stephen J. Adler (@stephenjadler) September 24, 2020

Stephen J Adler, editor in chief of American news agency Reuters, said: “I am so grateful Harry Evans became my mentor and friend.

“All of us at Reuters are blessed to have worked with him and learned from him these past 10 years.

“His example will continue to guide us.”