Marshall Loeb, Editor Who Shaped Money and Fortune Magazines, Dies at 88

Marshall Loeb, Editor Who Shaped Money and Fortune Magazines, Dies at 88

2017-12-11 23:33:12

According to that 1991 article, Circulation soon climbed to 1.4 million in 1984, from 825,000 in 1980, making Money the fastest-growing magazine in the country.

Fortune recruited Mr. Loeb in 1986, and under his watch the magazine became must reading in executive suites and among those who aspired to occupy them. Mr. Loeb is credited with reviving the magazine’s profitability and expanding its traditionally tight focus on corporate management and the economy to embrace broader topics, like executive life, and social issues, like homelessness and public education.

Mr. Loeb expanded his reach through radio and television. While running Money’s editorial division, he took over as host of “Your Dollars,” a daily two-minute CBS Radio feature broadcast nationally.


Marshall R. Loeb in an undated photograph. “Loeb wanted to make investing and spending money fun at a time when a lot of young people were having fun making a lot of money,” one business magazine wrote.

CBS Press

He subsequently began broadcasting “Your Money Minute” for the radio network; a weekly five-minute segment for CBS television; and a 30-second segment, “Money Tips,” for WABC-TV in New York.

In 2012, David Callaway, then editor in chief of MarketWatch, an online financial service (he is now chief executive of The Street, the business news and financial services website), called Mr. Loeb “the father of modern business journalism.”

Mr. Loeb did not dispute the characterization. “It’s extravagant,” he allowed in an interview for this obituary in 2013 at the East 72nd Street townhouse in Manhattan owned by his son, Michael R. Loeb, founder of a successful investment firm. “But I’m not going to argue against it.”

Mr. Loeb died at his son’s home.

After leaving Time Inc. at 65, he edited The Columbia Journalism Review, wrote a nationally syndicated personal finance column, continued to broadcast daily financial advice on CBS Radio and was briefly the host of the PBS television program “Wall Street Week.”

Marshall Robert Loeb was born on May 30, 1929, in Chicago and grew up on what he called the “scruffy” West Side of the city — yearning, by his account, to break free of its confines.

His father, Monroe Harriman Loeb, owned a wrecking and salvage company in Chicago. His mother, the former Henrietta Benjamin, was a milliner and a teacher.

As a young man, Marshall came to see reporters for Chicago’s major newspapers as “heroic” figures whom he said he wanted to emulate, in part to see the world.

He earned a journalism degree at the University of Missouri. (He later said he always regretted that he never studied accounting.) After graduation, “wanting to find out what made Nazi Germany possible,” he said, he went to Germany and worked at an international student house in Goettingen before landing a job as a correspondent for United Press in Frankfurt.

There he met Irmingard Loewe (known as Peggy), a German-French stewardess for Pan American World Airways. They married in 1954. After they moved to the United States, he was hired by The St. Louis Globe-Democrat. But that job did not to satisfy his ambitions.

“I wanted to be sure that what I wrote would be printed or broadcast beyond the place where I was sitting,” he said in a 2009 interview, and he decided he needed to go to New York or Washington “to get that global reach.”

New York it was, after Time hired him. He went on to flourish there as business editor, national editor and economics editor, writing or editing scores of Time cover stories, including one of 8,000 words on J. Paul Getty, billed as the first billionaire. (“There wasn’t that much back then in terms of long-form business journalism,” he recalled in the 2013 interview.)

Over his career he interviewed presidents and covered the space program and a dozen national political conventions, he said. But he considered his work at Fortune to have been his most satisfying.

He expanded Fortune’s use of graphs, charts, lists and tables while continuing the magazine’s tradition of deeply researched articles and its fierce circulation and advertising rivalry with Forbes magazine. He also commissioned a profile of Warren Buffett, a little-known investor at the time, helping to lift him to prominence.

In 1964 he and William Safire wrote “Plunging Into Politics,” which recommended that neophytes begin a political career by working on campaigns at the precinct level. (Mr. Safire went to become a columnist for The New York Times.) His book “Marshall Loeb’s Lifetime Financial Strategies” was published in 1996.

Besides his daughter and son, Mr. Loeb is survived by six grandchildren. His wife died in 2010.

Among his honors were two Gerald Loeb Awards for financial journalism, named for a Wall Street executive who was no relation. One of those awards was for lifetime achievement.

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