William John "Will" Lang Jr. (October 7, 1914 – January 21, 1968)
was an American journalist and a bureau head for Life magazine.
1 Early career
2 World War II
5 External links
Lang was born on the south side of Chicago. While attending the
Chicago in 1936, he wrote for the
Chicago Daily News and
"campus stories" for Time on a part-time basis. Six months later, he
was summoned to
New York City
New York City to work for Time and Life on a regular
basis. In both 1936 and 1940 he covered the Presidential campaigns of
James Farley. While in Washington D.C., Lang met an old classmate, Kay
Meyer (who later became Katharine Graham) of
The Washington Post
The Washington Post and
Newsweek. The two dated for a while, but broke off the relationship
due to conflicting interests.
In December 1940, Lang had an opportunity to get an interview with
George Tinkham who showed Lang his trophies
from his safaris in Kenya.
World War II
Will Lang Jr.
Will Lang Jr. in Italy
During World War II, Lang became Bureau Head in Algiers, Italy, Paris,
and Berlin. He also became friends with Bill Mauldin, Ernie Pyle,
John Steinbeck and Robert Capa. During the war, he wrote
many biographies, including those of Lucian Truscott, Bill Mauldin, J.
Elmer Spyglass, Creighton Abrams, and Canadian manufacturer Ludger
Lang was the first American reporter in
Tunis after the Battle of the
Kasserine Pass. Later that same year, he followed the battle campaign
George S. Patton
George S. Patton in Sicily. On October 7, 1943, Lang was
nearly killed in the Naples post office explosion. Later that month,
He was commended by General
Matthew B. Ridgway
Matthew B. Ridgway for his professionalism
during his stay with the 82nd Airborne Division. After D-Day, he had
lunch with Mary Welsh Hemingway, the 4th wife of Ernest Hemingway.
Later on, he filed a report on The
Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge alongside Col.
Creighton Abrams, in which Abrams later mentioned in an article of
Stars and Stripes.
After the war, Lang continued his reporting in
Europe and wrote
reports on the rebuilding of
Berlin and the fall of The Iron Curtain.
During this time, in January 1948, his daughter Luisa was born. The
Lang family's happiness was cut short in June when they heard of the
Berlin Blockade. Lang was able to smuggle his family into France
before the borders were closed.
In March 1950, one of his stories reported on the discovery of the
coffins of German President
Paul Von Hindenburg
Paul Von Hindenburg and his wife,
Frederick William I of Prussia
Frederick William I of Prussia and Frederick the Great, in a
salt mine in Germany.
When Lang returned to the
United States in May 1950, he became Bureau
Head in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1952, he wrote about John F. Kennedy
becoming Senator of Massachusetts. From 1954-1960, he served as Bureau
Head in Washington, D.C.. After becoming Bureau Head in
Paris in 1960,
Lang traveled to
Spain to help his old friend
Ernest Hemingway publish
The Dangerous Summer. Hemingway called it an addendum to Death in the
Afternoon (1938). Hemingway persuaded Lang to let him print the
manuscript, along with a picture layout, before it came out in
hardcover. Although not a word of it was on paper, Hemingway agreed to
the proposal. The first part of story appeared in Life on September 5,
1960 and was followed by two more installments.
In 1961 while in Berlin, Lang witnessed the construction of the Berlin
Wall. When he returned home in 1961, he was promoted to Deputy
Regional Bureau Director of Life. In February 1963, he was promoted to
Chief Bureau Head of Domestic and Foreign Departments for Washington,
D.C.'s Life branch. On June 26, 1963, Lang returned to
Berlin for a
few days and witnessed John F. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner"
In January 1965, he was promoted to Chief Regional Bureau Director for
Life in Manhattan.
Will Lang Jr.
Will Lang Jr. and his wife Louise and his daughter Luisa in Austria
Lang died from a heart attack while on a skiing trip with his family
in St. Anton, Austria. His body was taken to
Salzburg where it was
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