Michael Herr, author of the heralded Vietnam War memoir Dispatches and Oscar-nominated contributor to two classic film chronicles of the conflict — Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket — died Thursday after a lengthy illness. He was 76. His death at a hospital near his upstate New York home was announced by his publisher Knopf.
“Dispatches is one of the seminal works of the 20th century and the most brilliant treatment of war and men I have ever read,” Knopf Chairman Sonny Mehta said. “It is a work that secured Michael’s legacy as one of our great writers of narrative nonfiction. Michael was also a friend to many at Knopf. We will all miss him.”
Born April 13, 1940, in Syracuse, NY, Herr was a war correspondent for Esquire in the late 1960s, basing 1977’s Dispatches on his reporting during those years. He later contributed to the narration sections of Best Picture Oscar nominee Apocalypse Now (1979) and co-wrote the screenplay for Full Metal Jacket (1987), for which Herr shared an adapted screenplay Oscar nom with Kubrick and Hasford.
As a magazine reporter, he covered rock music for Crawdaddy and contributed to Vanity Fair. He published the bio Kubrick in 2000. Knopf’s announcement did not list his survivors.