82, Died April 28
former los Angeles times feature writer and columnist
He covered the four Beatles, survived five plane crashes, and wrote a syndicated column for six years during a roving journalism career that earned him comparisons to Ernie Pyle and Charles Kuralt.
Charles Hillinger joined the Los Angeles Times in 1946, and eventually began focusing on feature writing. He penned nearly 6,000 human-interest stories before retiring from the newspaper in 1992.
Hillinger wrote about the Beatles during the group's 1964 Los Angeles visit to perform at the Hollywood Bowl -- doing a behind-the-scenes report about John, Paul, George, and Ringo as they relaxed at a Bel-Air hideaway. Five years later, the Times writer was aboard the aircraft carrier Hornet to report on the Apollo 11 splashdown.
But many of Hillinger's pieces were about "ordinary" people -- some of whom were doing extraordinary and/or eccentric things. For instance, there was a homeless Los Angeles man who learned he had almost $20,000 in the bank but refused the money because he was happy with his life.
Hillinger traveled around the world twice as a Times reporter. And from 1985 to 1991, he visited all 50 states for the "Charles Hillinger's America" column syndicated by the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service.
After leaving the Times, Hillinger continued to write for many magazines.