Volume 76, Number 2 | May 31 - June 6 2006

Obituary

Michael Norcia, 59, covered Grenada, Shah, Elvis

Michael Norcia, an award-winning photographer with the New York Post for the past 25 years and a Village resident for most of his life, died May 19 at his home in Weehawken, N.J., where he lived for the past 10 years. He was 59.

He struggled with bladder cancer for the past two years, said his sister, Nanette Norcia.

Twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, in 1984 for a photo feature on the Grenada invasion and in 1992 for a spot news photo, his photos of a fire rescue won the Associated Press Association’s first-place award for spot news and the University of Missouri Award of Excellence in 1991.

The fire rescue photos also earned him the first-place award for spot news from the Deadline Club of New York City and the first-place award for spot news from the International Association of Firefighters in 1992. The Silurian Society cited him for Excellence in Journalism in 1992.

He studied fine arts at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and began working as a freelance photographer, shooting local news for the Associated Press. He also did work for the New York office of Sygma, the Freuch photo agency, covering assignments including Elvis Presley’s funeral, the Son of Sam arrest, the fall of the Shah of Iran and Pesident Jimmy Carter’s travels.

In 1978 and 1979, Michael Anthony Norcia freelanced for Newsweek, covering the Vatican and trips by Pope John Paul II. From 1979 to 1980 he worked for Gamma/Paris, the French photo agency, covering Tito’s death, French politics and the fall of Idi Amin in Uganda.

In 1980 he began working for the New York Post covering hotspots at home and abroad, including Northern Ireland, Grenada, Somalia, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Haiti, Cuba and Oklahoma City.

Born on Mott St., the son of Michael and Mary Epifanio Norcia, he attended Old St. Patrick’s parochial school and went to high school at La Salle Academy on Second St. and Second Ave.

“Michael was also an artist and an avid animal rights activist,” said his sister. “A lifelong vegetarian, he wouldn’t even eat an egg,” she added, noting that he rescued many abandoned animals. “He paid for a vacation for a dying woman and bought her a special hospital bed — that was the kind of thing he did,” she said.

The funeral was at St. Anthony’s Church on Sullivan St. on May 19 and burial was in Calvary Cemetery in Queens where four generations of his family are interred. Perazzo Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

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