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John Lake (journalist)

John Eric Lake (born February 18, 1930 in Albany, New York - disappeared December 10, 1967) was the sports editor of Newsweek until his mysterious disappearance.[1]

John Eric Lake
Born February 18, 1930
Disappeared December 10, 1967 (aged 37)
New York
Died 1975
Nationality United States
Education Syracuse University
Occupation Sports journalist and editor
Employer New York Herald Tribune & Newsweek
Height 6' 0
Weight 180
Spouse(s) Alice Conlon
Children Daughter & son


Personal backgroundEdit

John Eric Lake was born February 18, 1930 in Albany, New York.[citation needed] He graduated in 1951 with a B.A. degree in journalism from Syracuse University, where he met his wife Alice Conlin.[1] The couple married in 1952 while Lake was serving in the U.S. Navy in Honolulu, Hawaii.[1] He returned to graduate school at Syracuse after he was discharged from the U.S. Navy.[1] The couple had a daughter and a son.[1][2] His wife and children later moved to New Jersey and then to Islesford, Cranberry Island, Maine.[1] John Lake was declared missing in December 1967 and deceased by a court in New Jersey in 1975.[1][3]


John Lake in his Newsweek office in September 1967.

The Binghamton News Press hired both John Lake and his wife in 1952, and he worked in sports while she wrote features.[1] In 1959 Lake became a staff writer at the New York Herald Tribune.[1][3] Lake worked with Red Smith while at the Tribune.[citation needed] In February 1964, he moved to Newsweek to become its sports editor.[1][2][3] He succeeded Dick Schaap in this role.[citation needed] In his last year at the magazine, Lake authored three cover stories (nine in four years) on such varied topics as "The Black Athlete", the Indy 500 and the World Series.[citation needed] Lake was hired as a ghost writer for Bob Gibson's autobiography and had all but submitted the work.[4][5] Lake's last issue for Newsweek was the December 11, 1967 issue with a cover featuring a dark-haired, bespectacled Robert McNamara, asked, "Why is He Leaving?"[citation needed] After Lake's disappearance in 1967, he was replaced as sports editor six months later by Pete Axthelm, a writer for Sports Illustrated.[citation needed]


John Lake was last seen in midtown Manhattan, New York City, on Sunday, December 10, 1967. At that time, he was walking toward the subway to go home.[3][6][7] A missing persons report was filed by his wife, Alice, at the 6th Precinct of the NYPD on December 14, 1967.[3] His disappearance was investigated by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, which was hired by Newsweek.[3] Years after, a police officer from missing persons showed his son a February 1968 photo of a corpse who closely resembled Lake but could not be positively identified.[3]

Missing Person documents:

  • New York Police Agency Case Number: 29273
  • NCIC Number: M-563761275
  • NamUs MO#4386


Lake was admired by other journalists and athletes. Peter Benchley, author and screenwriter, who edited the Radio/TV section at Newsweek at the time, admitted to being intimidated by him.[citation needed] Mario Andretti, auto race driver, called him the most prepared journalist from the national media that ever interviewed him.[citation needed] Bert Sugar, boxing raconteur, recalls it was John Lake that moved press conferences from showmanship to seriousness with a single question.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Alice Conlon Lake". The Ellsworth American (Obituary). November 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Gussow, Mel (March 1, 2004). "Newsweek Alumni: Nostalgia and History". New York Times. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Barry, Dan (August 24, 2005). "The Father Who Never Came Home". New York Times. 
  4. ^ D'Agostino, Dennis (2013). Keepers of the Game: When the Baseball Beat was the Best Job on the Paper. Potomac Books, Inc. 
  5. ^ "Pepe by Marty Appel". 
  6. ^ "Case Report - NamUs MP #4386". 
  7. ^ "John Eric Lake". 

External linksEdit