William Manchester, author of popular biographies on Winston Churchill and Douglas MacArthur and the controversial chronicler of President Kennedy's assassination, died Tuesday, June 1, 2004, in Middletown, Conn. He was 82. Manchester emerged from a working-class childhood in industrial Massachusetts and battlefield experiences as a Marine Corps sergeant in World War II to write about 20th century giants such as Kennedy, Churchill, MacArthur and the Rockefellers. Although known as an accomplished, readable biographer, historian and author of more than a dozen books, Manchester probably was best known for his relationship with the Kennedys. During the 1950s and the "Camelot" years, Manchester was a confidant and companion to Kennedy, and a frequent visitor to the family's compound in Hyannisport, Mass. The friendship helped provide Manchester with material for his breakthrough book - the 1962 Portrait of a President, the first of three he wrote about the late president. The shattering experience of the Kennedy assassination the following year and an exhaustive, controversial investigation led to million-selling The Death of a President, published in 1967.
AP/Eddie Adams, file