Former WWD Metropolis Editor and Actor-Director Ron Cohen Dies – WWD


Ron Cohen, Ladies’s Put on Day by day’s former longtime metropolis editor and monetary editor, died on Nov. 22 at his New York condominium.

Cohen, 93, was underneath hospice care on the time of his demise, which was attributable to pure causes following pulmonary and respiratory points, in keeping with his son Laurence Frazen.

Along with his 43-year tenure at WWD, which resulted in 1999, Cohen labored as an actor and director primarily in neighborhood and repertory theater for a lot of his life. A memorial service for Cohen and his achieved actress spouse Lynn, who died through the pandemic, are being deliberate for early subsequent yr in New York. Though Lynn Cohen performed quite a few roles in theater, tv and in movies, many knew her for her function as “Magda,” the Japanese European housekeeper for Cynthia Nixon’s character “Miranda” on HBO‘s “Intercourse and the Metropolis.”

WWD’s former editor in chief and a 39-year Fairchild veteran Ed Nardoza stated, “Ron was a necessary a part of a few of WWD’s most vibrant and profitable newspaper years. He was a terrific journalist, with sharp analytical abilities and a deep understanding of probably the most arcane enterprise issues. Ron was additionally a particularly colourful particular person, an Off-Broadway actor and director and [had] a literary IQ that was astounding. He usually did perceptive theater critiques for the paper. He additionally had huge endurance, particularly towards younger journalists, that offset a wry, speedy and infrequently depraved wit.”

Born on the South Aspect of Chicago, Ron Cohen was one among three youngsters born to Solomon and Sarah Cohen. His brother Burton, who was generally known as “Buddy,” and his sister Shaney predeceased him. After finding out journalism at Roosevelt College in Chicago, Cohen served within the U.S. Air Pressure, working in communications through the Korean Conflict. His newspaper profession began in 1956 as a reporter within the Chicago bureau for the Fairchild Information Service. Subsequently, he grew to become bureau chief in Kansas Metropolis after which St. Louis. In that latter function, Cohen lined greater than a dozen, usually unrelated industries, from style to retailing to vitality to house furnishings to supermarkets. “He was equally adept at all of them and will learn a stability sheet and see by way of PR smoke screens like no person else. He was in the end imported to New York as metropolis editor for the corporate’s flagship, WWD,” Nardoza stated.

Cohen and his late spouse first met at The Barn Repertory Theater, a neighborhood theater in Kansas Metropolis, and wed in 1964.

She and Cohen moved to New York in 1978 after the Fairchild Information Service revealed plans to shut the St. Louis bureau and supplied Cohen a job in Los Angeles or New York Metropolis. The couple selected the latter largely attributable to Lynn Cohen’s keenness to commit herself to performing full-time and the various stage alternatives that Manhattan supplied. A lifelong supporter of his spouse’s profession, Cohen’s East Coast transfer panned out effectively for the pair. She was in her 40s when she made her Off Broadway debut in 1979 in “Don Juan Comes Again From the Conflict,” and Cohen transferred to New York as a retail reporter for WWD.

Throughout that interval, he additionally discovered time to overview theater and cabaret performances and to jot down quite a few persona profiles for the newspaper on topics as numerous as Isaac Bashevis Singer and Lena Horne. After a couple of sublets on the Higher West Aspect, Lynn Cohen “was capable of cajole and candy speak her manner into an condominium at The Belnord in 1978,” Frazen stated. Like a lot of their union, the couple’s deal with additionally had remnants of the thespian life. Their condominium constructing at 86th Avenue and Broadway is the place the collection “Solely Murders within the Constructing” is ready.  

Rising up by way of the ranks, Cohen was named metropolis editor in 1983, and quarterbacked WWD’s protection of Seventh Avenue in addition to most different topics present in what was then a day by day newspaper. In New York, he “directed the day by day, pressure-packed circulation of breaking information about Seventh Avenue, the foremost nationwide retailers and Wall Avenue. Later, he directed the innumerable and wildly worthwhile franchise of particular stories and deeply reported sections produced by WWD’s journalists,” Nardoza stated. “Personally, Ron grew to become my go-to particular person every time the newsroom drifted towards absolute chaos, often on imminent day by day deadline, when the faint of coronary heart may simply panic. Ron by no means panicked, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances. He was a sound and stable type of refuge with judgement, poise and expertise every time I wanted it most.” In February 1998, he added the duties of economic editor.

Wry and even-handed, Cohen was recognized to maintain reporters at his facet as he edited their copy fastidiously, explaining the nuances and requirements of each final phrase. All the time in a shirt (with the sleeves rolled up) and a tie — that loosened on the knot because the hours wore on, Cohen seldom left his desk for hours on finish. Even-tempered, approachable and wry, the bespectacled Cohen’s longish hair hinted at his off-hours creative life. Knowledgeable as he was in regards to the timelines and specifics of retail mergers and acquistitions, Cohen would simply as simply reference the most recent John Lahr theater overview from The New Yorker journal.  

WWD’s former longtime managing editor Mort Sheinman stated Monday, “I contemplate myself fortunate to have had the chance to work with Ron over so a few years. I knew him first when he was a reporter in our St. Louis bureau, and later we labored carefully collectively as senior editors. He was a beautiful author, a meticulous reporter, and a person who by no means didn’t carry out the very best within the folks whose work he dealt with. Ron was a consummate skilled whose calm demeanor, and whose compassion and humorousness have been appreciated and admired by all of his colleagues. He was an excellent newspaper man and an actual mensch.”

Along with his performing and directing pursuits, Ron Cohen freelanced film and theater critiques later in life. He additionally mentored the cabaret performer Craig Pomeranz, and directed his present present.

Peter Born, former govt editor of magnificence at WWD, stated, “Ron Cohen led a double life. To the consternation of quite a lot of younger editors, he was meticulous as an editor. He was a stickler to the sanctity of the phrase. He took his time to get it proper.”

Recalling how Cohen was often the primary to reach within the WWD newsroom and the final one to go away, Born stated, “His best thrill was not the sight of a well-punctuated web page. It was the expertise of witnessing a well-acted scene that was pushed by a well-turned script. Theater was his pleasure. It’s the place he met Lynn, his beloved and deceased spouse, and was what sustained him. His grasp of showbiz lore was encyclopedic. He may speak at size and for hours about all the good stars — their strengths and their foibles.”

“He stood out as a newspaperman in a enterprise not recognized for Renaissance figures. At the same time as he grew weaker, much less frail and suffered discomfort, he nonetheless discovered the vitality to take a Shakespeare class [via Zoom,]” Born stated.

“Ron Cohen was a terrific metropolis editor. He supported his reporters, he took the time to fastidiously edit our tales, and was all the time even-keeled in a fast-paced newsroom. He all the time stored his humorousness, was actually good and had an excellent perspective,” added WWD information director Lisa Lockwood.

Former WWD govt editor Bridget Foley recalled Monday when she was a younger reporter, Cohen acted as an authoritative senior editor. “In some methods, he performed to the old-school rolled-sleeved journalist archetype — exacting editor, sharp wit, ever prepared with a wry quip. But he had an magnificence about him, and an innate gentleness. Instruction through intimidation wasn’t his factor. Ron made you a greater journalist with out making you quake,” she stated. 

Describing Cohen as “a traditional newsman, a terrific trainer and mentor,” Dianne Pogoda, a 30-year veteran of WWD and managing editor from 2000 to 2017, stated he helped her change into a greater author, reporter and editor. “I discovered a lot from him in regards to the information course of, digging deeper for a narrative, crafting and fine-tuning it. I by no means noticed him lose his mood, and I all the time got here away from his modifying having discovered one thing. I’m fortunate to have been part of his crew throughout a golden age for WWD,” Pogoda stated.

From Frazen’s perspective, his father “knew extra about extra issues than in all probability anyone I’ve ever met. He was type, compassionate and had an unbelievable sense of empathy. He was a really, excellent particular person all the time.” And if Cohen had a motto, that may have been, “Don’t ever decide anyone till you’ve walked a mile of their sneakers,” his son stated.

Nardoza added, “As for dedication, Ron had no equal. In reality, he as soon as sustained fairly a grotesque knee damage after entering into one among New York’s bottomless potholes. He wanted difficult surgical procedure and confirmed up for work the very subsequent day, on crutches, his leg wrapped in bandages. ‘What the hell are you doing right here?’ I requested, incredulous. ‘My job,’ he answered, as if my query have been absurd.”

Along with his son, Cohen is survived by a grandson Samuel Frazen and a granddaughter, Kathryn.


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