Brookdale Santa Fe resident, Richard Stolley, had many days in his life and prosperous journalism career that are notable, but one that stands out among others would be November 23, 1963. And 55 years later, he’s sharing a documentary about that significant day and how his life and career changed forever with residents, family and the public.
Fifty-five years ago, Richard was the first reporter to view the footage taken by Abraham Zapruder of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the first to share images of the assassination in Life magazine. This documentary focuses on Richard’s story; about how the Zapruder film was found, how he acquired the rights to the film and how he ultimately shared some of the most powerful images of the late President with the world. More than five decades later, the assassination is still a controversial and relevant discussion topic.
He hosted a public viewing of the film on Nov. 20 at the community, along with a reception and a chance for a Q&A with him.
Local Santa Fe television station, KRQE came out to interview Richard about the documentary and the anniversary of the assassination.
Everything in Richard’s career had led him to that fateful weekend. During the 1960s, he worked at Life Magazine. He held positions like Editor of Life Magazine and founding Editor of People magazine during his long and successful career.
However, he says his big break was not getting any of those jobs, instead, it came when he got the job as Sports Editor of his hometown newspaper, the Pekin Daily Times in, Pekin, Illinois, 1944 at the age of 15. “I knew at age 12 that I wanted to be a journalist,” said Richard. “And at 15, when I was hired, my fate was sealed in that industry.”
He worked for the Pekin Daily Times for two years before graduating high school. From there he spent two years in the Navy, then went to Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism before getting a job at the Chicago Sun-Times. After a few months at the Sun-Times, Life Magazine called. He worked at Life until it ceased its weekly publication schedule in 1972. Then was editor of the monthly Life Magazine. In 1974, he and a few other editors developed the idea of People Magazine. He put together a test edition that ended up going on sale on newsstands.
Richard’s career was full of memorable interviews like Lyndon Johnson, Margaret Thatcher and Georges Pompidou.
When we asked him what he loved most about the journalism field, he said, “Journalists try to know more than any other human being,” he said. “They spend their entire life soaking up information and then dispensing it. I was proud of the responsibility of telling the world, the readers, what was really happening.”
Richard is proud to share this documentary with the other residents, their families and other guests of Santa Fe.