John Randolph Hearst Jr., known throughout his life as “Bunky,” has died at age 77. He was a director of Hearst Corporation and the two Hearst Foundations.
“John was always very devoted to the company founded by his grandfather,” said Frank Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst Corporation. “He was equally devoted to a number of charitable organizations in the New York area. Those of us who served with him on the various Hearst Boards remember his great wit and interest in everything the company and Foundations were doing. Bunky will be greatly missed.”
Hearst enjoyed a long career with the Hearst Corporation, starting as a news photographer for the Hearst-owned New York Daily Mirror in the 1950s, as well as for the Hearst Newspapers division. In recognition of his interest in photojournalism, Hearst Newspapers commissioned a traveling trophy, the John R. Hearst Jr. Prize for Photo Excellence, awarded to photographers for Hearst Newspapers. An ardent boating enthusiast most of his life, he also served as an editor for Motor Boating & Sailing magazine, which was a Hearst publication.
Bunky Hearst enjoyed telling the story of how he had acquired his unusual nickname. He told the New York Times in 1983 that a cartoon character in his grandfather’s newspaper, the New York Journal-American, was to blame. “I used to wear huge baby bonnets,” Hearst was quoted as saying. “And my godfather took one look at me and said, ‘He looks like Bunky in the funny papers.'” The name stuck. On his 21st birthday, Hearst decided that he no longer resembled a Bunky, he told the Times. But it was too late; the nickname was his for life. “I may as well wallow in it,” Hearst said. “Besides, I’d rather be a Bunky than a Junior.”