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Marianne Szulc R.I.P.
Friday, December 31, 2004
Marianne Szulc, 79, wife of author and former New York Times foreign correspondent Tad Szulc, whose books she helped research and edit, died Dec. 21 at her home in Washington of complications of chronic respiratory disease.
Mrs. Szulc was also an artist and a free-lance radio reporter. She accompanied her husband to Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s when he became the Times’ chief Latin American correspondent.
In Rio, she free-lanced for NBC Radio and covered stories such as a bizarre incident in which renegade Portuguese sailors took over a ship. Her husband’s assignments with the Times took them to Washington, Madrid, Rome, Jerusalem and Prague, where she filed news reports for Westinghouse Radio on the lives of Czech people after the Soviet crackdown on the freedom movement there in 1968.
When her husband left the Times in 1972 to write books, Mrs. Szulc became his editorial assistant, working at their Washington home. She assisted with research, editing and administrative details for most of his 25 books, which included biographies of Fidel Castro and Pope John Paul II.
The Szulcs, who had been together for 53 years when he died in 2001, began their marriage on a curious note. In 1948, the two met for the first time at a party in suburban Mount Kisco, N.Y. She offered to marry Szulc after learning that the aspiring writer from Poland would soon be deported because his tourist visa had expired. Without telling their families, the couple exchanged vows in New York’s City Hall a few days later and planned to divorce once his U.S. citizenship was finalized.
A month later, after the two had time to date, they were married again, this time in a church.
She was born Marianne La Vaughn Carr in Akron, Ohio. During World War II, she was hired at a Goodyear aircraft plant in Akron to work on the design of bomber wings. She also supervised wing riveters.
After graduating from high school early, she moved to New York, where her mother opened a small antiques store. About that time, she designed window displays and worked as a fashion artist for upscale department stores.
Survivors include two children, Nicole Szulc of Mallorca, Spain, and Anthony Szulc of Washington; a sister; and a grandson.