Australian journalist Steve Dunleavy has died, aged 81, at his home in the United States.
Dunleavy died in Long Island, his son Sean told the New York-based Daily News.
“It just was very sudden,” Sean said. “But he was home, it was peaceful. We don’t know what the cause of death was.”
Born in Sydney on January 21, 1938, Dunleavy’s media career spanned more than 40 years until his retirement in 2008.
He started at John Fairfax’s The Sun in Sydney as a copy boy in 1953 and then headed over to rival tabloid The Daily Mirror – before it was a News Corp asset.
He later set off overseas and reached New York City in 1966 where he filed dispatches for newspapers in the United Kingdom until he took a job at the New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch.
Steve Dunleavy was one of the greatest reporters of all time,” Murdoch told The Post today.
Whether competing with his own father in the famous Sydney, Australia, tabloid wars, or over the last 40 years in New York, Steve’s life story is littered with great scoops,” he said.
Known as “Murdoch’s attack-dog”, among his career-defining scoops Dunleavy scored interviews with the Boston Strangler, Albert DeSalvo, including a nude prison photoshoot after smuggling a camera inside.
He drew the ire of Elvis Presley fans, including death threats, with the publication of his best-selling book, “Elvis: What Happened?” shortly before Presley’s death.
Heralded for introducing tabloid TV to the US, Dunleavy brought A Current Affair to the Fox Network in 1987.
His induction into the Australian Media Hall of Fame in 2017 highlighted his “whatever it takes, larger-than-life” approach to journalism.
“His passing is the end of a great era,” Murdoch said.