Tony Vaccaro, renowned World War II and fashion photographer, has died aged 100


Renowned American photographer Tony Vaccaro has passed away. His varied career spanned many decades and focused on everything from World War II in Europe to fashion and lifestyle in the United States. He was 100.

Vaccaro died at his home in Long Island City on December 28, 2022, just 8 days after his 100th birthday, due to complications resulting from ulcer surgery that was performed in November.

“With a heavy heart, we would like to inform you about [the] Tony Vaccaro passed away last night,” his family wrote in an Instagram post published on December 29. “At his home with his family by his side. Tony wanted to get to 100 more than anything and he did. After his big birthday, he told us, “Now I can rest.”

“Tony loved people more than anything and saw the best in everyone. He would wake up in the morning saying, “What a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky.”

Vaccaro was born Michelantonio Celestino Onofrio Vaccaro on December 20, 1922, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, to Italian immigrant parents.

In 1943, Vaccaro joined the United States Army, serving in Europe during World War II. Although he had originally tried to join the Army Signal Corps as a combat photographer, showing that his high school photo was accepted, the 21-year-old was considered too young and inexperienced. Instead, he became a private in the US Army’s 83rd Infantry Division, seeing combat in France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Assigned as a scout, Vaccaro was still able to use his skills with a camera and document his unique perspective of the world war. He shot over 10,000 photos during and after the war while in Europe. He captured poignant and powerful images that would become some of the most enduring images of the war.

Although he often fired a camera instead of a pistol, Vaccaro still bled for the Allied cause: he was shot and received a Purple Heart from the Army for being wounded in action.

After the war, Vaccaro continued to work as a photographer, capturing images of everyday life, celebrities and major events. He would work extensively for major American magazines such as time to document the fashion and lifestyle of Americans.

Celebrities, leaders and titans were frequent subjects of Vaccaro’s photos, and the photographer captured portraits of everyone from artist Pablo Picasso to US President John F. Kennedy.


Vaccaro’s work has been published in two books: Entry into Germany: Photographs 1944-1949published in 2001, and War shotspublished in 2002.

Vaccaro is survived by two sons, two grandsons and a daughter-in-law.





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