American journalist Curtis Bill Pepper has died at the age of 96.

The newsman passed away on Friday (04Apr14) at his home in Todi, Italy, according to the New York Times.

Pepper began his career at The New York World-Telegram in 1938 and later became a foreign correspondent in Italy for United Press and then CBS after World War Ii.

In 1956, he was hired by Newsweek to open its Rome division and was bureau chief there for 11 years before leaving to become a freelance writer.

He was best known for his profile pieces on famous figures including Laurence Olivier, Marcello Mastroianni and Mother Teresa and he also authored eight books.

Pepper is survived by his sculptor wife Beverly Pepper and their two children - poet Jorie Graham and theatre and film director John Randolph Pepper.