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'Gardens of Stone' author Proffitt dies

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NAPLES, Fla., Nov 27, 2006 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Journalist Nicholas Proffitt, whose Vietnam-era novel "Gardens of Stone" was turned into a 1987 Francis Ford Coppola movie, died of kidney cancer in Florida; he was 63.

"Gardens of Stone," published in 1983, was based on Proffitt's first-hand knowledge of the Army burial detail at Arlington National Cemetery where he was assigned as part of the Third Infantry Division's famed "Old Guard" at a time when the war in Southeast Asia was heating up.

Proffitt was born to an Army family in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and grew up on military bases around the country, the Los Angeles Times said Monday. After his own Army service ended in 1964, he was hired by Newsweek and worked in a number of the magazines bureaus in the United States and abroad, including Saigon.

The pithy Proffitt once told an interviewer a news correspondent's life "is a wonderful life for a younger man and not a very good life for an older man." He said it was not a profession in which you're allowed to grow old gracefully.

Proffitt died Nov. 10, leaving his wife, Martie Hudson, two sons and a daughter, five grandchildren and a brother.


Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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