Veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin died in Syria’s Homs/Aleppo bombing campaigns last February and her loss was felt around the world.The woman was wicked smart from Queens, fearless, motivated, and she wore an eye-patch. Another combination like that may never be.
Syria remains as much a dangerous, ill-advised destination as it was when she died, and it would be easy to imagine these locations and her combat job defined her. To picture her the same hard-charging, fearless, damn the consequences person she acted in the field.
Maybe she was, but that doesn’t mean she refused to allow herself the chance at love, and to maybe get hurt just like anyone else Astoria. Perhaps a little of the heartache she picked up over the years finally slipped free in her Last Will stipulations released yesterday, which excluded her oldest and some say dearest friend from her estate.
The two met 27 years ago during Marie’s first assignment following Yale. Patrick Bishop was in the middle of the Iran-Iraq war and Vanity Fair has this great Evgenia Peretz piece outlining the introduction that compelled her to marry the man twice in a handful of years:
From Vanity Fair:
Bishop, a battle-hardened Sunday Telegraph reporter who’d made his name in the Falklands War, was imparting to Marie Colvin pearls from his bottomless reservoir of military knowledge. She was the new girl, after all, an American and a Yale grad, just 30 years old, and she happened to have this amazing, out-of control mane of brown curly hair. “You don’t have to worry about that. That’s all outgoing,” said Bishop above the explosions surrounding them on the Iraqi front line. “You’ll learn when you’ve been around like I have to distinguish between outgoing and incoming…. That’s outgoing,” he continued, “and that one is … incoming!” Bishop dived for cover, Colvin remained standing, and the Iraqi soldiers walked away laughing.
“For the rest of my trip,” recalls Bishop, “I was thinking, How can I redeem myself having made such an arse of myself? I had these fantasies that the Jeep would be hit and shelled, and I’d be able to drag her from the wreckage and save her life.” Bishop never had the opportunity to save Colvin, but she eventually fell for him anyway, unaware at this point that falling in love in a war zone often means acquiring an ex-husband. The marriage lasted two years. By the end, Colvin had decided that he was “the last person I ever want to see, speak to, hear of again.”
That first divorce didn’t stick and knowing they could make it work, they married again. And got another divorce. Finally, she married Bolivian journalist Carlos Gumucio, who took his own life in 2002.
Bishop says they remained close friends throughout the years and that he’s surprised to have been specifically excluded from her will, but expected nothing of the $1.85 million estate just the same.
When Marie lost an eye in 2001 she became just a bit more unknowable to the people who never met her, and for some reason this gesture of hers in death made her come alive a bit today. Two chances on the same man, and a third who never may have felt — well, a part of this world — or hers, enough to stay.
Of course, I might be off base and Colvin’s final snub was just payback to Bishop for saving her life in Chechnya in 2000, and holding it over her head ever since. Maybe neither.
Farewell Ms. Colvin, who died with photojournalist Remi Ochlik, almost a year ago, in February 2012.
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