At Magnum he offered assignments to the great war photographer and photo essayist W. Eugene Smith after Mr. Smith had had a falling-out with Life.
While working for The Times during the Vietnam War, he successfully argued for front-page display of Eddie Adamsâs photograph of a Saigon police chief shooting a suspected Vietcong insurgent in the head. It appeared as the lead picture on Feb. 2, 1968, and became one of the most indelible images to emerge from the war.
So did a photo of a naked Vietnamese girl running from a napalm bombing raid. (The photograph was credited to Nick Ut, whose given name was later revealed to be Huynh Cong Ut.) Mr. Morris persuaded editors to run that photo at the bottom of the front page despite a Times policy against nudity. Both that photograph and the one by Mr. Adams won Pulitzer Prizes.
Mr. Morris was himself an eyewitness to history: In the early morning of June 5, 1968, he witnessed the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. âThe most terrible event I think I ever witnessed up close,ââ he said in an interview.
It turned him â for a day, at least â into a reporter (he seldom carried a camera himself): His eyewitness account appeared on the front page of the next dayâs Times, under his byline.
âFor five minutes, the throng in the Embassy Room was thrown into a state of panic,â Mr. Morris reported. âThe cries of admiration changed to hysterical screams as the shots â muffled by the crowd noise â penetrated the consciousness of the bystanders.â