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Knopf Doubleday’s editor in chief, Sonny Mehta dies at 77

Portrait of Sonny Mehta, President and Editor-in-Chief of publishing company Alfred A. Knopf, seated at his desk
Portrait of Sonny Mehta, President and Editor-in-Chief of publishing company Alfred A. Knopf, seated at his desk, circa 2001. Mehta announced that Alfred A. Knopf will publish the memoirs of former President Bill Clinton's life through the White House years by 2003. (Photo by Joyce Ravid via Getty Images)

Knopf Doubleday has been publishing books for nearly 122 years since its founding in 1897. During that century and a quarter’s time, there have been only 3 editors in chief at the helm, Sonny Mehta was appointed to the position in 1987:

Today, Knopf is one of the most venerable literary publishers in the country. In its 100-year history, the company, which is now part of Penguin Random House, has had only three people at the helm—Knopf himself, Robert Gottlieb, and current editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta.

Sadly, The Washington Post reports, the acclaimed editor passed away from complications of pneumonia:

Sonny Mehta, a literary tastemaker and kingmaker who spent more than three decades at the helm of the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house, where he courted critical acclaim, profits and sometimes both at once with a lineup of books that included works by a stable of Nobel laureates, the memoirs of presidents and prime ministers, and page-turning crime and love stories, died Dec. 30 at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 77.

The cause was complications from pneumonia, according to a statement from Knopf, where Mr. Mehta served as editor in chief and chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Mehta was a legendary leader, godspeed.

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