May 20, 2013

William Fine dies at 86

William Fine dies at 86
William M. Fine, a former magazine publisher and retailer whose research for Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller helped shape New York State’s stringent narcotics laws, died on Friday in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 86.

The cause was multiple atrophy syndrome, his daughter-in-law, Delia, said.

In the 1960s, Mr. Fine was the publisher of a dozen magazines for the Hearst Corporation, including Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Town & Country. As president of Bonwit Teller from 1969 to 1975, he commanded national attention for vigorously, but unsuccessfully, promoting more modest skirt lengths to women still enamored with the miniskirt.

In the presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan and the elder George Bush, Mr. Fine was an adviser to the State Department for the international fund to boost economic development in Northern Ireland as part of establishing peace there. The Irish Times in 2002 praised him as one of the five people most responsible for reaching a tentative peace among Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain. The others were the Northern Ireland politicians John Hume and David Trimble; Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain; and Tom King, Britain’s secretary for Northern Ireland. Read more