Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Cuban Catwalk! Chanel Hosts First-Ever Fashion Show in Cuba
- Read the Cover Story: Prince, 1958-2016
- Britney Spears Shows off 'Favorite' New Swimsuit as She Showcases Slender Physique in Instagram Snaps
- Will Smith Recalls Baby Making Moments in Sweet Tribute to Wife Jada – and His Kids Listen in Too!
- Donald Trump Named Presumptive GOP Nominee As Ted Cruz Drops Out of Presidential Race
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- April 17, 1989
- Vol. 31
- No. 15
A Lifetime Chasing Fires and Disasters Leads to a Pulitzer Prize for a Furniture Salesman
Even for experienced pros, photography involves at least an element of luck; Olshwanger got a career's worth in that single frame. Published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his snapshot won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for spot-news photography. "Who'd have ever thought I'd win a Pulitzer?" said Olshwanger. "I'd figure I have a better chance of flying to the moon." It was a heady bit of business; until the Post-Dispatch bought the picture for $200, Olshwanger's publication credits had been limited to two appearances in Firehouse Magazine. "I don't take pictures around the house because my wife tells me they don't turn out very well. They're always lopsided or fuzzy. But when I took that one, I knew it was special."
Unfortunately, the achievement was bittersweet; little Patricia Pettus died from complications of smoke inhalation in St. Louis Children's Hospital six days after the fire. "I thought, 'My God, that could be my grandchild,' " says Olshwanger. With the thousands of dollars in reprint fees that the photograph will earn him, plus his $3,000 prize money from the Pulitzer, Olshwanger is setting up a food fund at a local grocery for Patricia's impoverished mother, Mary Ann Bridgett, 22, and her other daughter, Nicole, 4, who was severely burned. (He has already established an account to help pay the family's medical bills.) "I couldn't sleep at night if I took money for that picture," says Olshwanger.
He has also offered free use of the photograph for an advertising campaign stressing the importance of home smoke detectors, which had not been installed in Patricia's home. In the end, Olshwanger says, that legacy will amount to more than the Pulitzer. "The picture should be used to save lives," says Olshwanger, "so the little girl will not have died in vain."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!