In mid January ’42, go-getter reporter Gene Sherman, 26, covered the Carole Lombard plane-crash tragedy for the Los Angeles Times.

Sherman reported that formidable MGM fixer Eddie (i.e., “Edgar J.”) Mannix had identified Lombard’s “charred and burned” body, relying on his familiarity with her blonde hair “as well as the general contours of her face.” Mannix was memorably portrayed by Josh Brolin in Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Hail Ceasar!.

Like any driven big-city reporter, Sherman knew most of the angles and could write a mean paragraph. In 1960 the 45 year-old Sherman won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. In a bid to strengthen the L.A. Times‘ influence on the world stage, Sherman opened the paper’s London bureau in ’64. The “hard-working, fast-living” Sherman died in 1969, at age 54.

L.A. Times reporter Gene Sherman