Sidney Zion

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Sidney E. Zion (November 14, 1933, Passaic, NJ – August 2, 2009, Brooklyn) was an American writer. His works include Markers, Begin from Beginning, Read All about It, Trust Your Mother but Cut the Cards, (collections of his columns), Loyalty and Betrayal: The Story of the American Mob and Markers (a novel). He co-authored The Autobiography of Roy Cohn. He also was a co-founder and co-editor of Scanlan's Monthly magazine.


Zion graduated from University of Pennsylvania and Yale Law School, working as a trial lawyer until becoming Assistant US Attorney for New Jersey in 1961. He then turned to journalism and writing novels. He worked for various New York publications, including The New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post and New York Magazine. In 1971, Zion revealed that Daniel Ellsberg was the source of the Pentagon Papers, the classified study detailing Washington deceit in Vietnam, then being published by the Times and The Washington Post. Zion, who was not affiliated with any news organization at the time, made the revelation on a popular New York City radio show. Many journalists regarded his disclosure of Ellsberg's identity as a breach of professional ethics, and Zion said he was considered a "pariah" by journalism colleagues for several years afterward.[1]

He was a recipient of the Ben Hecht Journalism Award. He married Elsa H. Zion, and their daughter, Libby Zion died age 18 in New York Hospital. Her death and the subsequent investigation and trial led to improvements in hospital resident working conditions.[2][3] Zion died in 2009 after a brief battle with cancer.[4]

He owned a steakhouse during the early 1980s called Broadway Joe that catered to theater people.[5] It was located on West 46th Street.[6]

Mr. Zion was a Zionist and Jew who believed very strongly in the state of Israel. He made several trips there as a journalist and was a friend of many in the conservative government. He was a devout Jew in his private life.

Mr. Zion served on the Board of Directors (as well as council) of The Players in New York City, fighting the anti-smoking laws forced upon private clubs during the Bloomberg Administration, believing those laws to be unconstitutional.


  1. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (August 3, 2009). "Sidney Zion, Writer Who Crusaded to Reduce Doctors' Hours, Dies at 75". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Libby Zion". New York Times. March 6, 1984. Libby Zion, a freshman at Bennington College in Vermont and the daughter of the writer and lawyer Sidney E. Zion and his wife, Elsa, died of cardiac arrest yesterday at New York Hospital after a brief illness. She was 18 years old and lived with her parents in Manhattan. Miss Zion, who had worked recently for the Manhattan Borough President, Andrew J. Stein, as part of a study project and was to have been employed next summer on the clerical staff of The New York Times, became ill several days ago with a flu-like ailment. The cause of the cardiac arrest was not immediately determined. Her father, a former reporter for The Times and former publisher of Scanlan's Magazine, is the author of Read All About It. Her mother is a former publishing executive. Besides her parents, Miss Zion is survived by two brothers, Adam and Jed.
  3. ^ "Elsa Zion, 70; Helped Cut Doctor Workloads". New York Times. March 5, 2005. Elsa H. Zion, a city official and former publishing executive who campaigned successfully to regulate the workload of interns and residents in New York State's hospitals after the highly publicized death of her daughter, Libby, in 1984, died on Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. She was 70 and lived in Manhattan. The cause was complications of breast cancer, said her husband, the journalist Sidney Zion.
  4. ^ Furse, Jane H. (August 3, 2009). "New York journalist Sidney Zion dies". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-08-03. Sidney Zion, a crusading journalist who turned the tragic loss of his daughter into a cause célèbre that led to far-reaching reforms in how hospitals train young doctors, died Sunday. He was 75. He'd spent his last days being treated for cancer under hospice care in Brooklyn, said his son Jed Zion. "He certainly did it his way," his son said. "I just want to remember him as somebody who lived better than anybody I know, who never did anything he didn't want to do. It's sad, but he had a damn good run." That death was the basis of the NBC pilot for Law & Order.
  5. ^ Albin Krebs; Robert Mcg. Thomas (28 September 1981). "NOTES ON PEOPLE; Unscheduled Songs". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 June 2017 – via
  6. ^ "Broadway Joe closed, "police-themed" bar inbound". Hell's Kitch. Retrieved 26 June 2017.

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