Russell Baker, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer whose celebrated New York Times “Observer” column appeared in hundreds of newspapers nationwide, died Monday at his home in Lessburg, Virginia, due to complications from a fall, The New York Times reports. Baker, 93, was one of the country’s best-known newspaper humorists. He began his career in the 1940s, working as a police reporter and London correspondent for The Baltimore Sun before going on to work in Washington, D.C. for The Times, covering the White House, Congress, and the presidential campaigns of 1956 and 1960. Two years later, he became a columnist for the paper and its news service. Baker wrote nearly 5,000 “Observer” commentaries on news of the day, totaling 3.7 million words. He won the 1979 Pulitzer for distinguished commentary and the 1983 Pulitzer for biography with Growing Up, a memoir of his Depression-era youth. Baker also was the host of Masterpiece Theater on PBS from 1993 to 2004. He retired from the Times in 1998 and published a total of 15 books. Baker went on to write about politics, history and journalism for The New York Review of Books. A collection of those essays was published in 2002 under the title Looking Back.
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