09 June 2015

I Mourn Vinnie Musetto

He wrote Amazing headlines for the New York Daily News:
V.A. "Vinnie" Musetto, a longtime former New York Post editor known for writing the tabloid's most famous headline more than three decades ago, died early Tuesday morning at the age of 74.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, Musetto's daughter, Carly VanTassell, told Capital. He had entered end-of-life care at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx recently after receiving a sudden diagnosis.

Musetto had a long career at the Post, where he worked for more than 40 years as an editor and later as a film critic, a position he held until August 2013. He had retired two years earlier but continued writing film reviews until the Post cut off his freelance assignments.

He is most well known for coming up with the headline "Headless body in topless bar" in 1983. It was the type of lurid, can't-make-this-stuff-up story that the tabloids live for, about a man who fatally shot the owner of a topless bar and forced a hostage to decapitate the body.

The headline was one for the history books and remains an object of fascination among newspaper wonks. But Musetto's personal favorite is another infamous headline that he wrote, said VanTassell: "Granny executed in her pink pajamas."
I aspired to be 1/10 as good at writing headlines as he was one day.

*Velma Barfield, the first women executed in the US after the death penalty came back in 1976.


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