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Remembering Joe Marquette Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

7 November 2016

Condor flies no more. Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Joe Marquette, known as Rocky Mountain Condor to his colleagues, passed away at home in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday after a lengthy illness at the age of 79.

The nickname was given to him when he worked out of Denver. He'd shoot any assignment any time and "always got the job done," Pat Benic, UPI director of photography, remembered.

Marquette, who was born in Indianapolis, Ind., became enamored with photography when his parents gave him a Kodak Brownie as a child. And photography became enamored with him over a five decade career that included stints with UPI, AP and Reuters as he covered everything from sports to politics.

His first job was as a courier with the Detroit News at the age of 18. He made friends with the UPI photographers who managed to get him a job with the wire service.

'I was kind of lucky.'

"I was kind of lucky," he told Joshua Kline in a 2011 interview. "It's really hard to get into. You gotta have a degree. I didn't have a degree."

His career took off when he was assigned to Minneapolis to cover sports. He started covering politics and was soon assigned to Washington, D.C. where his beat included everything from Super Bowls to the White House.

He eventually became UPI western bureau chief, was photo editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, spent a decade with AP, was bureau manager for the European Press Agency and helped Reuters establish its wire service in the U.S. while serving as its chief Washington photographer.

Among his most famous images are Sebastian Coe winning the gold in the 1500 meter race during the 1980 Moscow Olympics, President George Bush barely keeping his head above water off Waikiki and John Riggins scoring the winning touchdown of Super Bowl XVII, which became a popular poster in Washington, D.C. haunts.

Along with other AP photographers, Marquette won a feature photography Pulitzer in 1999 for coverage of President Bill Clinton's impeachment. Other awards included a first place for presidential coverage from the White House News Photographers Association in 1992 and a first place in sports in the 1981 World Press Photo contest for his photograph of Coe at the Moscow Olympics.

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