Ernie Pyle Biography


Birthday: August 3, 1900 (Leo)

Born In: Dana, Indiana, United States

Ernest Taylor Pyle was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and war correspondent. He is best remembered for his stories about ordinary soldiers who fought in the Second World War. He was also known for the columns he wrote from 1935 till 1941 for the Scripps-Howard newspaper syndicate. He earned popularity and acclaim for his simple accounts of ordinary people across North America. He continued to write his stories revolving around human interest when the United States entered the Second World War. He died after being hit by enemy fire during the Battle of Okinawa. He was known as one of the best war correspondents in America at the time of his death. His writing style was praised by the then-President of US, Harry Truman, after his death. Along with the Pulitzer Prize, he had also received numerous other honors throughout his career. He received the National Headliners Club Award twice and was featured on the cover of ‘Time’ magazine in July 1944. He was given an honorary doctorate from the University of New Mexico and a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Indiana University. The US government posthumously awarded him a Medal for Merit shortly after his death.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Ernest Taylor Pyle

Died At Age: 44


Spouse/Ex-: Geraldien Siebolds (m. 1925)

father: William Clyde Pyle

mother: Maria Taylor

Born Country: United States

Journalists American Men

Died on: April 18, 1945

place of death: Iejima, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

Cause of Death: Gunshot Wound

U.S. State: Indiana

More Facts

education: Indiana University, Indiana University Bloomington

awards: Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence

  • 1

    What impact did Ernie Pyle have on journalism?

    Ernie Pyle revolutionized war journalism by focusing on the experiences of ordinary soldiers, capturing the human side of war.

  • 2

    How did Ernie Pyle die?

    Ernie Pyle was tragically killed by enemy fire during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.

  • 3

    What were some of Ernie Pyle's most notable writings?

    Ernie Pyle's columns during World War II, such as "The Death of Captain Waskow," are highly regarded for their raw and emotional depiction of war.

  • 4

    Where did Ernie Pyle report from during World War II?

    Ernie Pyle reported from the front lines of World War II in various theaters, including North Africa, Italy, and Normandy.

  • 5

    How did Ernie Pyle connect with soldiers during his reporting?

    Ernie Pyle's ability to empathize with and relate to soldiers endeared him to the troops, making him one of the most beloved war correspondents of his time.

Childhood & Early Life
Ernest ‘Ernie’ Taylor Pyle was born on 3rd August 1900, on the Sam Elder farm near Dana, in rural Vermillion County, Indiana. His parents were William Clyde Pyle and Maria Taylor. He was an only child.
From an early age, he used to like adventure and disliked farming. He graduated from a local high school in Bono, Lawrence County, Indiana.
He enlisted in the US Naval Reserve during the First World War. However, before he was about to be transferred to Great Lakes Naval Training Station for further training, the war ended.
In 1919, he enrolled at Indiana University with the aspiration to become a journalist. However, at that time the university didn’t offer degrees in journalism, so Pyle majored in economics and took other journalism courses.
At the university, he began working with the ‘Indiana Daily Student,’ which was a newspaper written by students. He eventually became the newspaper’s city editor as well as the news editor. He went on to develop a storytelling writing style.
He took a trip across the Pacific. After his return, he was named the editor-in-chief of the ‘Indiana Summer Student,’ the summer edition of the campus newspaper. He also joined the Sigma Delta Chi, the journalism fraternity of the university. He was active in other campus clubs as well and was also a senior manager of the football team.
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After completing his studies, Ernie Pyle moved to Washington, D.C. in 1923, to join the ‘Washington Daily News,’ a new Scripps-Howard tabloid newspaper, as a reporter. He soon became its copy editor.
By 1926, he and his wife had quit their jobs, and they travelled across the United States. He also worked briefly in New York City for the ‘Evening World’ and the ‘New York Post.’
He returned to ‘Daily News’ eventually. He began working on one of the country’s first and best-known aviation columns. He continued writing for four years.
In 1932, Ernie Pyle became the managing editor at the ‘Daily News,’ and he served in the position for three years. In 1935, he left his position at the ‘Daily News,’ to write stories of human interest for the Scripps-Howard newspaper syndicate. Over the next six years, he and his wife traveled across US, Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America.
Though his writings earned him much popularity, Pyle lacked confidence and was not satisfied with his work. Eventually, he started writing about the American soldiers who were serving in the World War II.
Over the next few years, he wrote columns regarding the lives of ordinary soldiers during the war, and the struggles and problems they had to encounter. He traveled with the American soldiers to North Africa, Italy, and France.
His columns became so popular that over 400 different newspapers published them during the war. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1944.
Ernie Pyle had premonitions about his own death on several occasions. He often wrote letters to his friends, predicting that he might not survive the war. He was eventually assigned to cover the Pacific theatre, which he reluctantly accepted.
He died on 18th April 1945, when he was hit by enemy fire on the island of le Shima. His loss was heavily mourned by both soldiers and civilians.
Family & Personal Life
Ernie Pyle married Geraldine Elizabeth Siebolds in 1925. Though his wife accompanied him on his journeys, their relationship was a troubled one. Pyle was known for his alcoholism, and his wife suffered from mental illnesses. She also attempted suicide several times.
The couple divorced in 1942, but remarried a year later. They had no children. Geraldine passed away due to influenza after about seven months following her husband’s death, on 23rd November 1945.
Facts About Ernie Pyle

Ernie Pyle had a pet crow named "Bilko" that he adopted during his time as a war correspondent in World War II. Bilko would often accompany Pyle on his reporting assignments and became a beloved companion to him and his fellow soldiers.

Pyle was known for his love of practical jokes and had a mischievous sense of humor. He would often play pranks on his colleagues and friends, bringing laughter and levity to difficult situations.

Despite his fame and success as a journalist, Pyle remained humble and down-to-earth. He was known for his kindness and compassion towards others, always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.

Pyle had a passion for exploring the local culture and customs of the places he visited. He would immerse himself in the communities he reported on, gaining a deeper understanding of the people and their way of life.

Pyle had a talent for storytelling and a gift for capturing the human experience in his writing. His vivid descriptions and heartfelt accounts of war and everyday life resonated with readers around the world, earning him a lasting legacy as one of the greatest war correspondents of his time.

See the events in life of Ernie Pyle in Chronological Order

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