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William Peter Hamill, Jr.

Birthplace: Park Slope, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY, United States
Death: August 05, 2020 (85)
NewYork–Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY, United States (suffered from heart and kidney failure at the time of his death, in addition to having fractured his right hip in a fall)
Immediate Family:

Son of William “Billy” Hamill and Anne Hamill
Husband of Private
Ex-husband of Private
Father of Private and Private
Brother of Private; Private; Private; Private; Denis Maurice Hamill and 1 other

Occupation: journalist, novelist, essayist and editor.
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Pete Hamill

William Peter Hamill Jr.[1] (/ˈhæmɪl/; June 24, 1935 – August 5, 2020) was an American journalist, novelist, essayist and editor. During his career as a New York City journalist, he was described as "the author of columns that sought to capture the particular flavors of New York City's politics and sports and the particular pathos of its crime."[2] Hamill was a columnist and editor for the New York Post and The New York Daily News.


  • Parents: Billy Hamill and Anna Devlin (immigrants from Northern Ireland)
  • Oldest of seven siblings, including journalist Denis Hamill
  • Spouses: 1) Ramona Negron in 1962, divorced in 1970. 2) Fukiko Aoki in 1987.
  • Two daughters, Adrienne and Deirdre.

From his obituary

“Pete Hamill, Quintessential New York Journalist, Dies at 85“ NY Times. By Robert D. McFadden. Aug. 5, 2020. He was a celebrated reporter and columnist, the top editor of The New York Post and The Daily News, and the author of numerous books.

Pete Hamill, a streetwise son of Brooklyn who turned a gift for storytelling, a fascination with characters and a romance with tabloid newspapers into a storied career as a New York journalist, novelist and essayist for more than a half century, died on Wednesday in the borough of his birth. He was 85.

The writer Denis Hamill, his brother, said Mr. Hamill had fallen at his home in Brooklyn on Saturday after returning from receiving dialysis and was in intensive care at Methodist Hospital there when “his kidneys and heart failed him.” ...

His presence at crises was uncanny. In 1968, he was steps away from his friend Senator Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles on the night Kennedy was assassinated and helped subdue the killer, Sirhan B. Sirhan. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was blocks away when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, killing thousands, then described it in The Daily News.

Unlike most print journalists, Mr. Hamill was a bona fide New York celebrity, featured in gossip columns squiring Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Shirley MacLaine or Linda Ronstadt; promoting his books on television; photographed at society charity events or imbibing with the glitterati at parties. His friends included Norman Mailer, Jules Feiffer and Jack Lemmon. ...

For more than 30 years Mr. Hamill had lived in TriBeCa, in Lower Manhattan, where he loved to take aimless walks. (He moved back to Brooklyn in 2016.) “You can just sit on a bench and look at the harbor, or look at the people,” he told The Times in 2013. “Like being a flâneur. You can just wander around and let the city dictate the script.”

Family notes

From his obituary:

William Peter Hamill Jr. was born in Brooklyn on June 24, 1935, the eldest of seven children of Billy and Anne (Devlin) Hamill, immigrants from Belfast, Northern Ireland. His mother was a cashier at a movie theater and a midwife in the maternity ward of Methodist Hospital, and his father, who lost a leg in a soccer accident, was often unemployed but sometimes worked in a factory.

In 1962, he married Ramona Negron. They had two daughters, Adrienne and Deirdre, and were divorced in 1970. In 1987, he married Fukiko Aoki, a Japanese journalist. In addition to his brother Denis, a journalist, novelist and screenwriter, she survives him, as do three other siblings — Kathleen Fischetti, a former editor for U.S. Navy publications; Brian, a photographer; and John, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency — along with his daughters and a grandson.

Hamill's 1994 memoir, A Drinking Life, chronicled his journey from childhood into his thirties, his embrace of drinking and the decision to abandon it.

From “AT HOME WITH: Pete Hamill; On Background.” By Alex Witchel. Feb. 24, 1994. The New York Times. link

“Mr. Hamill's mother, Anne, is 83 and suffers from Parkinson's disease. She lives in a nursing home in Brooklyn. His father died in 1986. His brother Tom is an engineer for the New York State Power Authority; his only sister, Kathleen, was until recently an editor for Navy publications. Brian is a still photographer for movies; John is a speechwriter at the New York Housing Authority; Denis is a columnist at The Daily News, and Joe is a television producer. ... From his first marriage, to Ramona Negron, Mr. Hamill has two grown daughters, Adriene Wellesley, a writer in Las Vegas, Nev., and Deirdre Hamill, a photographer for The Phoenix Gazette. ... “

Awards and Honors

Hamill was a Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University.

Hamill and Jimmy Breslin were interviewed for the 2019 HBO documentary Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists, which details both the friendship and competition between New York City's two most read columnists of their era.

Across five decades, Hamill has received numerous awards and honors. Among them:

  • 2016 Irish America Hall of Fame inductee link
  • 2014 Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2014 New York Media Legends Award
  • 2014 Seamus Heaney Award for Arts & Letters
  • 2014 George Polk Career Award
  • 2013 Pratt Institute Legends Award
  • 2011 Irish American of the Year (Irish Echo)
  • 2011 DeWitt Clinton Award for Excellence
  • 2011 A.J. Liebling Award presented by the Boxing Writers Association of America
  • 2010 Louis Auchincloss Prize presented by Museum of the City of New York
  • 2010 Honorary Doctorate Degree from St. John's University
  • 2010 Honorary High School Diploma from Regis High School in New York City
  • 2009 “The New York City 400” list of the Most Influential New Yorkers in Past 400 Years
  • 2005 Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2000 Columbia Journalism Award for lifetime achievement
  • 1999 Listed as one of the noted Irish-Americans of the 20th Century by Irish-America Magazine
  • 1998 Society of Professional Journalists Deadline Club Hall of Fame
  • 1998 Denver Press Club's Damon Runyon Award
  • 1993 National Cartoonists Society ACE Award for "Amateur Cartoonist Extraordinaire"
  • 1992 Peter Kihss Award from the Society of Silurians
  • 1989 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Silurians
  • 1980 Honorary Doctorate Degree from Pratt Institute
  • 1975 Grammy award for Best Liner Notes for Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks"
  • 1971 Spur Award for Best Movie Script ("Doc") from Western Writers of America
  • 1962 Meyer Berger Award. Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism


  • 1940 United States Federal Census MyHeritageImage Residence: 1940, 14th Street, A D 12, Kings, New York, USA. Household: Head William Hamill 36 Wife Anne Hamill 28 Son Peter Hamill 4 Son Thomas Hamill 2.
  • Hamill. A Drinking Life: a Memoir. GoogleBooks
  • “ The Man Who Loves a City” by Jerry Tallmer.
  • “Hall of Fame: Pete Hamill.” Irish America. By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor, April / May 2016.
  • * “Pete Hamill, journalist, novelist and tabloid poet of New York, dies at 85” The Washington Post. By Harrison Smith August 5, 2020 at 4:12 p.m. MST. “When Donald Trump took out full-page advertisements in New York newspapers in 1989, calling for the state to bring back the death penalty after Black and Latino teenagers were accused of raping a woman jogging in Central Park, Mr. Hamill penned one of his most scathing essays, lambasting the future president while referring to him only by the first initial of his last name. “Snarling and heartless and fraudulently tough, insisting on the virtues of stupidity, it was the epitome of blind negation,” he wrote in Esquire. “Hate was just another luxury. And T. stood naked, revealed as the spokesman for that tiny minority of Americans who lead well-defended lives. Forget poverty and its causes, forget the collapse of the manufacturing economy, forget the degradation and squalor of millions; fry them into passivity.”
  • McFadden, Robert D. (August 5, 2020). "Pete Hamill, Quintessential New York Journalist, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved August 6, 2020. link
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Pete Hamill's Timeline

June 24, 1935
Brooklyn, Kings County, NY, United States
August 5, 2020
Age 85
Brooklyn, Kings County, NY, United States