Veteran book editor Fred Hills died on November 7. He was 85.
Hills, who edited an array of literary luminaries and celebrities including Vladimir Nabokov, Raymond Carver, Jane Fonda, and Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Boll, began his publishing career at McGraw-Hill. Starting there after completing his undergraduate degree at Columbia and graduate work at Stanford, Hills worked his way up to editor-in-chief of the college text division. He found himself running the trade division after CEO Harold McGraw implemented a staff shake-up in the wake of a scandal surrounding Howard Hughes' biography, which the house had published and which turned out to be fabricated.
After seven years in management, Hills left M-H and joined Simon & Schuster as a senior editor. He spent the next 26 years at S&S, going on to publish over 50 bestsellers. Speaking at his retirement dinner in 2006, Hills said: "I’ve been at it for over four decades and still find publishing an addictive profession. You’re always in the middle of some terrific project and don’t want to let go," he said.
He is survived by his wife, Kathy Matthews (who he met at McGraw-Hill), his brother Stuart, four children (Christina Hills Brown and Bradford Hills, from his first marriage, and Greg and Ted Hills, from his marriage to Matthews), and granddaughter Magenta Brown.
Services will be private. Donations in his name can be made to the Shelter Island Library, 37 North Ferry Rd., Shelter Island, N.Y. 11964, The Perlman Music Center, 73 Shore Rd., Shelter Island Heights, N.Y. 11965, or the Dance Theater of Harlem, 466 W 152nd St., New York, N.Y. 10031.