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Gene Pope

AKA Generoso Paul Pope, Jr.

Born: 13-Jan-1927
Birthplace: Bronx, NY
Died: 2-Oct-1988
Location of death: Lake Worth, FL
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Cemetery, Royal Palm Beach, FL

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Journalist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: National Enquirer and Weekly World News

Generoso Pope, Sr. was the millionaire publisher of Il Progresso, an Italian-language New York City newspaper, and he was frequently accused of mob connections. His son, Generoso Pope, Jr., was raised in wealth, and was a childhood friend of Roy Cohn, Joseph McCarthy's future assistant. After attending MIT, he worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, where he later said his assignment involved psychological warfare, but the Agency's bureaucracy annoyed him and he soon quit.

He purchased The New York Enquirer in 1952, allegedly with financial backing from Mafia boss Frank Costello. In his first editorial, Pope promised readers that "the New York Examiner will fight for the rights of man, the rights of the individual, and will champion human decency and dignity, freedom and peace". As he settled in as publisher of the weekly newspaper, however, its previous focus on lurid crime evolved into a gore- and celebrity-driven round-up of exaggerated scoops. Renamed The National Enquirer in 1954, it was not the first tabloid to replace news with nonsense, but it was by far the most successful of its time, and a harbinger of the today's Access Hollywood and TMZ.

In the mid-1960s National Enquirer toned down its more outrageous headlines (e.g., "Mom uses son's face as ashtray") in order to gain access to supermarket check-out stands, where the paper became the dominant force in tabloid journalism for the next several decades. In 1979 Pope began publishing Weekly World News, a new weekly with deadpan reporting of the bizarre ("Bigfoot kept lumberjack as love slave," etc.). He died in 1988, and his publications were subsequently sold for more than $400M.

Father: Generoso Pope (publisher of Il Progresso Italo-Americano, b. 1-Apr-1891, d. 28-Apr-1950 heart attack)
Mother: Catherine Richichi Pope (m. 1916)
Brother: Anthony Pope
Brother: Fortune Pope (publisher of Il Progresso Italo-Americano, b. 6-Jan-1918)
Wife: Patty McManus (actress, m. 1951, div. 1961)
Son: Generoso Pope III
Wife: Edith Moore Pope ("Sandy", m. 1961, div. 1965)
Daughter: Gina Pope
Wife: Lois Wood Pope (m. 1965)
Daughter: Maria Wood Pope (stepdaughter)
Daughter: Michelle Wood Pope (stepdaughter)
Son: Paul David Pope (b. 1967)
Daughter: Lorraine Pope (Down syndrome, b. 1972)

    High School: Horace Mann School, Riverdale, NY (1942)
    University: BS Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1946)

    The National Enquirer Publisher (1952-88)
    Weekly World News Publisher (1979-88)
    CIA employee 1951-52
    Heart Attack 2-Oct-1988 (fatal)
    Italian Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Smoking

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