Grit and red wine: Famous war photographer beats virus at 97

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In this recent but undated photo of Tony Vaccaro. Amid the bleakness of the pandemic, some veterans still know how to win that 2020 war too — spurious comparison or not. Vaccaro, 97, was thrown into WWII with the 83rd Infantry division which fought, like Charles Shay, in Normandy, and then came to Schmetz’s doorstep for the Battle of the Bulge. On top of his military gear, he also carried a camera, and became a fashion and celebrity photographer after the war. COVID-19 caught up with him last month. Like everything bad life threw at him, he shook it off, attributing his survival to plain “fortune.” (Photo courtesy Manolo Salas via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A celebrated wartime photographer who survived a devastating childhood and the Battle of Normandy is now getting over a bout with COVID-19.

This 1945 photo shows photographer PFC Tony Vaccaro posing for a photo on the wing of an airplane during WWII. Vaccaro, 97, was thrown into WWII with the 83rd Infantry division which fought, like Charles Shay, in Normandy, and then came to Schmetz’s doorstep for the Battle of the Bulge. On top of his military gear, he also carried a camera, and became a fashion and celebrity photographer after the war. COVID-19 caught up with him last month. Like everything bad life threw at him, he shook it off, attributing his survival to plain “fortune.” (Photo courtesy Tony Vaccaro via AP)

Ninety-seven-year-old Tony Vaccaro attributes his longevity to blind luck, red wine and determination. As an American combat infantryman in World War II, he stowed a camera and captured close to 8,000 photographs.

In this 1944 photo titled “Firing Line” by photographer Tony Vaccaro, shows American soldiers in Germany’s Hurtgen Forest. Vaccaro, 97, was thrown into WWII with the 83rd Infantry division which fought, like Charles Shay, in Normandy, and then came to Schmetz’s doorstep for the Battle of the Bulge. On top of his military gear, he also carried a camera, and became a fashion and celebrity photographer after the war. COVID-19 caught up with him last month. Like everything bad life threw at him, he shook it off, attributing his survival to plain “fortune.” (Photo courtesy Tony Vaccaro via AP)

He later became a celebrity photographer for magazines such as Look and Life. His subjects included Sophia Loren, John F. Kennedy and Pablo Picasso.

This 1966 photo by Tony Vaccaro, shows artist Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France. Vaccaro, 97, was thrown into WWII with the 83rd Infantry division which fought, like Charles Shay, in Normandy, and then came to Schmetz’s doorstep for the Battle of the Bulge. On top of his military gear, he also carried a camera, and became a fashion and celebrity photographer after the war. COVID-19 caught up with him last month. Like everything bad life threw at him, he shook it off, attributing his survival to plain “fortune.” (Photo courtesy Tony Vaccaro via AP)

Vaccaro lives in New York City and says he feels like he could go anywhere on Earth and survive it.

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