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AP publishes illustrated biography on photographer Nick Ut


The Associated Press has published an illustrated biography documenting the life and career of former AP photographer Nick Ut.

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“From Hell to Hollywood: The Incredible Journey of AP Photographer Nick Ut” chronicles the lifelong adventure of the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, including his teenage years in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, his time working at AP’s Saigon bureau and his eventual role covering celebrities and daily life in Los Angeles.

It features more than 200 gripping photos made during his 51 years with AP.

“With this project, we set out to share the entirety of Nick Ut’s personal life and career at The Associated Press,” said AP Director of Programming Peter Costanzo. “Nick’s path is an inspirational tale of achievement against all odds, driven by his passion for photography and a desire to live life to the fullest.”

Ut is best known for his iconic Vietnam War photo of terrified 9-year-old Kim Phuc running scorched and naked from a napalm attack. “From Hell to Hollywood” recounts the moment Ut took the photograph and examines its impact on the world. The book also explores his continued friendship with Kim Phuc.

Ut was hired by AP in Saigon in March 1966, replacing his older brother, Huynh Thanh My, who had been working as a photographer with AP and was killed by the Viet Cong in 1965.

After working in Vietnam, Ut did a stint at AP’s Tokyo bureau before relocating to Los Angeles in 1977. There he shot a wide variety of stories, from earthquakes to fires to celebrities to business to crime until his retirement from AP in 2017.

Ut has won numerous prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for Spot Photography — the youngest photographer to win the award — and the World Press Photo Award the same year, all for his photo of the young Kim Phuc.

In January 2021 Ut became the first journalist to win the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the U.S. federal government.

“From Hell to Hollywood” is written by Hal Buell, former AP head of photography service and the author of “Uncommon Valor, Common Virtue.”

The book includes a foreword by former CBS News broadcaster Bob Schieffer and an afterword by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Peter Arnett.

It is available now online and in paperback wherever books are sold.

About AP

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. More than half the world’s population sees AP journalism every day. Online:


Patrick Maks
Media Relations Manager
The Associated Press

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