Photojournalist Jerry Cooke, 84

Oct 27, 2005

Photographer Jerry Cooke, the former director of photography for Sports Illustrated magazine whose work also graced 47 Sports Illustratedcovers over the years - as well as being published in Life, Time, Fortune, National Geographic and many other magazines - died October 27 at his home in East Hampton, NY.

Sports Illustrated director of photography Steve Fine told the magazine’s staff in an eMail the next day, “For more than half a century, you couldn’t attend a Kentucky Derby or an Olympics without running into Jerry at the finish line. Some of his more notable pictures include Cathy Rigby on the balance beam, Bobby Fischer pondering his next move, and Bob Hayes winning the 100 at the 1964 Olympics.”

Cooke came to New York City in 1939 from the Ukraine, where he was born in 1922, and started photography as a darkroom assistant the year after he arrived in America. A family member loaned him a camera and he became a photographer. By 1951 he had already shot assignments for Life magazine, and that year he was the president of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP).

Sports Illustrated has posted an online gallery of Cooke’s pictures as a tribute here.