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Longtime Chicago Journalist Marshall Rosenthal Dies

Marshall Rosenthal, a longtime Chicago journalist who spent four years as a writer and producer at CBS 2, died this week at 71. (Credit: Golden Apple Foundation)
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Journalist Marshall Rosenthal, counted a few years as a writer for CBS 2 in his long and illustrious career, died this week at the age of 71.

Rosenthal passed away at his home early Monday, after a diagnosis of incurable liver cancer, the Chicago Reader’s Michael Miner reported.

Over a period of more than four decades, Rosenthal’s journalistic career took him from the underground media in the tumultuous late 1960s to high-profile positions in government public relations.

As the Chicago Tribune points out, Rosenthal had nearly completed his work for a doctorate in finance and economics when he burned his dissertation and came back to his native Chicago.

He tended bar at the old O’Rourke’s, formerly at 319 W. North Ave. in the Old Town neighborhood, and began writing poetry for the underground newspaper the Chicago Seed, the Tribune reported. Editor Abe Peck said Rosenthal came to the Seed with “a days-of-chaos poem that made the back cover,” Miner reported.

The Seed, which was published from 1967 to 1973, was known for colorful psychedelic graphics and radical politics, and celebrated the Yippies, who organized the “Festival of Life” during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Rosenthal briefly took over as editor of the Seed when Peck resigned temporarily, Miner reported.

After leaving the Seed, Rosenthal went on to become the first Chicago correspondent for Rolling Stone Magazine, followed by a stint as an arts reporter at the Chicago Daily News. There, he worked with legendary theatre critic Richard Christiansen on a weekly arts section called Panorama, the Tribune reported.

Rosenthal also served a stint at the Chicagoan – an unsuccessful local glossy magazine – and at the Chicago Reader, where he started the “Hot Type” column of local media criticism.

From 1976 until 1980, Rosenthal was a writer and producer at CBS 2, where he worked with the late movie critic Gene Siskel, Chicago Magazine recalls.

Rosenthal later moved on to NBC 5, and won two Emmy awards in his 15 years in local television.

In 1991, Rosenthal moved into public relations, as public information officer for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. He also served as head of media relations for Evanston-Skokie School District 65 and finally, for the Golden Apple Foundation for recognition of outstanding teachers, the Tribune reported.

In recent years, Rosenthal was a major photo contributor to the Flickr pool for the blog Chicagoist.

He is survived by his son, Daniel; daughter, Alisa; and brother, Jerome, the Tribune reported.