Maurice “Mickey” Carroll, a veteran New York City journalist and media spokesman with more than a half century of experience, died Wednesday at the age of 86, according to Quinnipiac University.
For 22 years, Carroll served as a professor at the school and worked as a spokesman for its polling institute. Before joining the university, he clocked-in a 40-year career with several news organizations including Newsday, amNewYork’s parent company, and The New York Times, covering such historic events as the Kennedy assassination.
Journalists remembered him for his tenacity and commitment to the truth.
“He had a rare gift for boiling down the thoughts of even the windiest political gasbag into clear, punchy, easily grasped sentences,” New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman said. “Politicians never fazed him. Editors certainly didn’t . . . And no one benefited more than the readers.”
Born in 1931 to Maurice C. Carroll, a businessman, and Dorothy Joyce Carroll, a bookkeeper, Mickey Carroll was raised in Rutherford, New Jersey. He graduated from Notre Dame University and served in the U.S. Army.
Carroll worked at several papers as a reporter and columnist, including stints at the Passaic Herald News, the Jersey Journal, the Newark Star Ledger and the New York Herald Tribune. He was deployed by the Herald Tribune to Dallas following President Kennedy’s assassination, and he reported the story exhaustively. He is pictured in the infamous photograph of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald.
Although Carroll stood by the Warren Commission Report, which found that Oswald was the sole perpetrator in the president’s death, “he complained that the Warren Commission Report was so badly written that many people believed the conspiracy theorists instead,” according to Quinnipiac.
He went on to write a book, “Accidental Assassin: Jack Ruby and 4 Minutes in Dallas,” which was followed by a book on the Iranian hostage crisis “No Hiding Place: Inside Report on the Hostage Crisis.”
Despite his work around the globe, Carroll’s true passion was for the stories on the streets of New York, according to colleagues. Many remembered his blunt-yet-priceless advice, especially his colleagues at the Inner Circle, the city coalition of media members who run the annual charity comedy show.
“Mickey once described a reporter’s job as knocking on a door at 9 a.m., waiting for someone to answer which finally happens at 5 p.m. with a ‘no comment.’ And then the reporter has to write the story,” Inner Circle member Mark Liberman said.
Carroll died at his home in Convent Station, New Jersey. He is survived by his former wife, Peggy; son, New Jersey Assembly member Michael Carroll; daughters Eileen and Elizabeth; 10 grandchildren and a sister, Anne Shannon.
A memorial mass will be celebrated Thursday, Dec. 14, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, 4 Convent Road, Morristown, New Jersey.
With Lisa L. Colangelo and Newsday