updated 2/27/2005 7:29:48 AM ET 2005-02-27T12:29:48

Henry A. Grunwald, a Time magazine editor who led the publication’s shift from conservatism to a more centrist view, then later became a United States ambassador to Vienna, has died. He was 82.

Grunwald died of heart failure Saturday at his Manhattan home, according to his daughter, Mandy.

During his tenure as managing editor at Time, Grunwald began to award bylines and introduced new departments including Behavior, Energy, the Sexes, Economy and Dance. Before being named to the position in 1968, Grunwald had been a writer, senior editor and foreign editor at the magazine.

His role in shaping Time was perhaps second only to that of founding editor Henry R. Luce.

One of the most noted items of Grunwald’s tenure was when he personally wrote Time’s editorial during the Watergate scandal asking President Richard Nixon to resign.

“The nightmare of uncertainty must be ended,” he wrote in a Nov. 12, 1973 editorial. “A fresh start must be made. Some at home and abroad might see in the president’s resignation a sign of American weakness and failure. It would be a sign of the very opposite.”

Nixon resigned in 1974.

After serving 11 years as managing editor, Grunwald served as editor-in-chief of all Time Inc. publications until retirement in 1987.

He was appointed U.S. ambassador to Austria, the country of his birth, by President Reagan and served in that post from 1988 to 1990.

A long journey
Born in 1922, Grunwald’s family fled Nazi-occupied Austria for the United States when he was a teenager. His father was a librettist in Vienna who failed to find a foothold in American show business.

Grunwald himself had early ambitions to be a playwright but got a job as a copy boy at Time while a student at New York University and stayed there for his entire career.

After his two-year diplomatic career, Grunwald wrote a pair of memoirs.

Grunwald penned the 1997 autobiography, “One Man’s America: A Journalist’s Search for the Heart of His Country,” and a 1999 memoir about losing his sight due to macular degeneration, “Twilight: Losing Sight, Gaining Insight.”

His first novel, the critically-praised “A Saint, More or Less,” was published in 2003.

As a young man, Grunwald immersed himself in American culture doing everything from spending his free time watching movies on 42nd Street, to taking a lengthy trip to the Midwest in order to better understand his new country.

Grunwald enrolled in New York University’s undergraduate journalism program, but switched his major to philosophy. Still, Grunwald became editor of the school’s student newspaper, the Washington Square Bulletin.

Besides his daughter, Grunwald is survived by his wife Louise Melhado; two other children, Peter Grunwald and Lisa Grunwald Adler; a stepson Bob Savitt; and four grandchildren.

His first wife, Beverly Suser, died in 1981.

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