Richard Shortway, a longtime executive of Condé Nast and former publisher of Vogue, died late Monday night of cancer at age 84 at his home in Bel Air, Calif.
Shortway worked at Condé Nast for most of his career, spending 46 years at the company until his retirement in 1998. While there he worked intimately with current Condé Nast chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. “Dick was a giant of publishing…a rare human being who leaves an indelible mark on his business and his personal relationships,” said Newhouse. “I worked closely with Dick for many years. I learned a lot from him and he will be missed.”
This story first appeared in the November 12, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Shortway began his publishing career at Women’s Wear Daily and moved to Glamour in 1950, where he rose to the position of advertising manager. He moved to Vogue in 1962 as advertising director, and became publisher of the fashion magazine in 1969. Shortway remained Vogue’s publisher until 1987, and was also named as vice president of Condé Nast Publications in New York, overseeing both Vogue and Vanity Fair. In 1987, he moved to London as publishing director of British Vogue, and while there launched British GQ and British Vanity Fair. Shortway returned to the U.S. in 1992 as vice president of Condé Nast International, with overall domestic responsibility for 37 magazines.
“Dick Shortway was one of the great sales executives in the history of our organization and a giant in the industry. He came to London late in his career and took British Vogue to a new level of success,” said Jonathan Newhouse, the current chairman of Condé Nast International. “He played a key role in the Condé Nast International operations, including serving as a mentor to a generation of younger publishers.”
Shortway attended Western Reserve University in Ohio, and served as a first lieutenant with the U.S. Eighth Air Force in World War II. He flew 31 missions over Nazi Germany, and received several honors, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, five air medals, four combat campaign stars, and two presidential unit citations.
Among his international distinctions, he was decorated by the Italian Government as Commendatore, received the Gold Medal of the City of Paris from Jacques Chirac, at the time the mayor of Paris, and the National Order of The Legion of Merit from then French President Francois Mitterrand.
Family members described Shortway as a raconteur with thousands of stories, jokes, and outrageous truths about the fashion business. He is survived by his wife, Noreen O’Brien; three children, Catherine McMullen of New Jersey, Merry Laporta of Syracuse, N.Y., and Richard Anthony Shortway Jr. of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. , as well as four grandchildren and two great grandchildren, all living on the East Coast.
Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. at The Little Chapel of the Dawn, Gates, Kingsley & Gates Moeller Murphy Funeral Home in Santa Monica, Calif. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be sent to The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, One Intrepid Square, West 46th Street and 12th Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10036.