The veteran New York Post copy editor and the author of the famous headline, "Axis Of Weasel," died on Thursday from complications related to a recent stroke. Joseph Cunningham was 43 years-old.
According to the tabloid, Cunningham fell into the job in 1997 after singing in a rock band for several years. The Post's managing editor told NPR the story of how Cunningham's headline—called the "wood" by Post staffers—won over the editor-in-chief: "Joe, a copy kid who shouldn't be saying anything to anyone, just chimes up in the background of the newsroom: 'Axis of Weasel.' The boss points at him: 'He nailed it'—and he got himself a job."
Cunningham, who is survived by his wife, a former Post features reporter, and two children, also wrote the headlines "Let's Mecca Deal" (regarding the Ground Zero mosque), "Freakin Flyer" (referring to the fed-up JetBlue attendant), and "Screw U," referring to a professor who pimped out his students. The author of what is believed to be the most famous (or infamous) Post headline, "Headless Body In Topless Bar," Vincent Musetto, retired last month.