We write many of our obituaries in advance — hundreds, in fact — and occasionally the subject outlives the writer. In most cases we’ll then have the obituary redone. But on occasion we feel the original piece is worth preserving, and publishing — with updating, of course — because of the quality of the writing and the reporting and the authoritativeness of the writer.
[For example], Bob Hope outlived the writer of his obituary, Vincent Canby, but Canby was one of the most respected film critics in the country, and his piece was terrific. We felt our readers would enjoy, and learn from, his last word on Hope. So it ran on page one.
Bill McDonald, New York Times Obituary Editor, on the art — and practice — of having well-crafted obituaries on hand.
Danielle Paquette, CNN, Taylor farewell sheds light on obituary reporting.