Tony Vaccaro

TONY VACCARO: 1922 - 2022

At the age of 21, Tony was drafted into the WWII, landing at Omaha Beach, six days after the first landings at Normandy. Denied access to the Signal Corps, Tony was determined to photograph the war, and had his portable 35mm Argus C-3 with him from the start. For the next 272 days, Tony fought on the front lines of the war, fighting the enemy while also documenting his experience at great risk, developing his photos in combat helmets at night and hanging the negatives from tree branches.

After the war, Tony remained in Germany to photograph the rebuilding of the country for Stars And Stripes magazine. Returning to the US in 1950, Tony started his career as a commercial photographer, eventually working for virtually every major publication: Look, Life, Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country, Newsweek, and many more. Tony went on to become one the most sought after photographers of his day.

He recovered twice from COVID-19, and attributed his longevity to “blind luck, chocolate, red wine” and determination. Tony Vaccaro was one of the few people who could claim to have survived the Battle of Normandy and COVID-19

Tony Vaccaro passed away peacefully on December 28, 2022, eight days after celebrating his 100th birthday. In late November, Tony had entered NY Harbor Veteran’s Hospital for emergency surgery for complications from an ulcer. He recovered and attended the pop-up Tony Vaccaro Centennial Exhibition of his photographs in New York City. The City of New York officially proclaimed December 20, 2022 “Tony Vaccaro Day”, and Vaccaro was feted by friends at a surprise birthday party at his favorite local Italian restaurant that evening

The New York Times obituary

Short YouTube biographical video