Warren Hinckle with his dog Bentley on Oct. 29, 1987. Photo: Eric Luse, SF Chronicle File
Warren Hinckle, a happily hard-drinking swashbuckler of San Francisco journalism who mixed leftist leanings with an everlasting contempt for the powerful, died early Thursday. He was 77.
Mr. Hinckle had been in declining health and died of complications from pneumonia at a hospital near his home in San Francisco, relatives said. He was surrounded by his family, reports Kevin Fagan of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
From his groundbreaking days of editing the iconic liberal magazines Ramparts and Scanlan’s Monthly in the 1960s and ’70s to his reliably irreverent columns for newspapers, including The Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner, Mr. Hinckle delighted in tweaking anyone in charge of anything and muckraking for what he fiercely saw as the common good.
With his ever-present Basset hound Bentley in tow, Mr. Hinckle held forth at watering holes and events throughout the city, tossing off one-liners in a low growl like a late-night comic. Along the way, the one-eyed rapscallion — he’d lost his left eye in a childhood car accident and wore a patch — drew the wrath of mayors, police and anyone who got in his way, and he reveled in it.
“He had a great, great time, and no regrets,” said his daughter Pia Hinckle, who followed her father into a writing career. “He never looked back, and he was always looking for the next thing to do.”