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Ray Cave, Influential Time Magazine Editor, Is Dead at 91

“I don’t think you can overstate how important Ray Cave was in the evolution of Sports Illustrated becoming what it was by the early 1970s — one of the best-written, best-edited magazines in America,” Michael MacCambridge, the author of “The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine” (1997), said in an interview.

By 1974, Mr. Cave had become a trusted deputy of its longtime managing editor, Andre Laguerre. But after Mr. Laguerre retired, it was Roy Terrell who succeeded him, not Mr. Cave. “SI gets a new editor,” Mr. Cave wrote to his children in a career reminiscence several years ago. “Miffed. Should have been me.”

He joined Time as an assistant managing editor in 1976 and, a year later, was the surprise choice as managing editor, succeeding Henry A. Grunwald. Jason McManus, another editor at Time, had been expected to get the job.

“This time the other guy was miffed,” Mr. Cave wrote.

Mr. Cave had strong feelings about how Time should look. At Sports Illustrated he had mastered production techniques that filled pages with color photography on tight deadlines. He brought the same skills to improving Time’s photography.

And he was the Time editor most closely involved in its redesign in 1977, working with renowned Walter Bernard. Mr. Bernard adopted a bolder use of informational graphics and photography, conceptual cover art and a uniform headline typeface.

Mr. Cave “was a no-nonsense guy who encouraged me to argue with him,” said Mr. Bernard, who stayed at Time as art director for three years. “Previously, the art department kept quiet. It was ‘yes sir, no sir’ with the managing editor. But he always asked me what I thought and let me disagree with him.”

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Cave is survived by his son, Jon; his stepbrothers, Jon and Christopher Cave; and a granddaughter. His marriage to Katherine Mumford ended in divorce. Patricia Ryan, his second wife, who died in 2013, was the managing editor of People and Life magazines. They had met at Sports Illustrated.

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