L.A. Herald-Examiner's last employee retires, 23 years after paper closes

Los Angeles Downtown News | Los Angeles Times

Twenty-three years after the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner closed, its last employee is retiring. Charles Lutz has watched over the former Hearst paper's iconic building ever since, Richard Guzmán reports:

He’s also in charge of signing a lot of film contracts, since the building is currently mainly used for that purpose. He checks the mail, makes sure bills get paid and collects several newspapers a day, which he then sends to the San Francisco office so Hearst officials have hard copies of local news.

Lutz, Steve Lopez writes, has "seen half of Hollywood walk past his scrubby ground-floor office." He started working at the paper in 1973 as a truck driver and stayed on in his caretaker role at Hearst's request.

The 68-year-old doesn't often leave his chair, Lopez writes -- "The job requires so little movement that weight gain has been an occupational hazard" -- but he did get up to watch Clint Eastwood direct.

I made the mistake of asking if he got permission.

"I walk in my own building," he squealed, "and I stand behind who I want to stand behind. What are they going to do about it?"

In retirement, Lutz intends to train horses with his brother. "He will be replaced by another Hearst employee who has no ties to the Herald-Examiner," Guzmán reports.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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