Gerald Gross, a top executive at several major houses for three decades during the mid-20th century, died from cancer-related complications on October 14. He was 94.
After serving in the Air Force in World War II, Gross launched his publishing career in 1946 at Reynal & Hitchcock in New York City, which subsequently merged with Harcourt Brace. He remained at that company for 14 years and, in 1957, became the first editor to have a National Book Award bestowed upon two of his authors in the same year when Wright Morris won the fiction award for Field of Vision and Richard Wilbur won the poetry award for Things of This World.
Leaving Harcourt Brace, Gross was named publisher of Pantheon Books, where he supervised the publication of such classics as Born Free, Dr. Zhivago, The Tin Drum, and The Leopard. In 1962, Gross joined Macmillan as senior v-p, working with such authors as George Orwell, Robert Penn Warren, E.E. Cummings, Eudora Welty, Ralph Ellison and Barbara Tuchman.
In the late 1960s Gross supervised the publication of the English-language edition of Nazi minister of armaments and war production Albert Speer’s memoirs, Inside the Third Reich (1970), which became an international bestseller. Gross also persuaded Speer to donate all royalties earned from the book in the U.S. to New York refugee-aid organizations.
In 1975 Gross retired from publishing and joined Boston University as a v-p. While living in Boston, he encouraged intellectual copyright lawyer Ike Williams to launch the Kneerim, Williams and Bloom Literary Agency. Gross then joined the agency in 1990.
Gross continued to work for the agency, largely representing debut authors, until his death.
A memorial service will be held at The Bolton Street Synagogue, 212 W. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore on November 12 at 11:00 am.