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'Headless Body In Topless Bar' Headline Writer Dies

Vincent Musetto, a longtime editor at the New York Post, has died at the age of 74. The Post reports Musetto died Tuesday in hospice care at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three weeks ago. His daughter Carly VanTassell told the paper, "He wasn't in any pain. ... He passed peacefully in his sleep."

Musetto's Post headlines were the stuff of legend. "Khadafy Goes Daffy." "I Slept With A Trumpet." "Granny Executed In Her Pink Pajamas." When a book about wacky New York Post headlines was written, it was titled, obviously, after one of Musetto's: "Headless Body In Topless Bar." That "topless" headline also ended up on T-shirts and was the title of a 1995 movie.

Post editor Dick Belsky told the story behind the "topless" headline a few years ago; he worked on it with Musetto. He and Musetto didn't know at first whether the bar was topless or not. Belsky sent a reporter to the bar to confirm, but when she got there, the bar was locked. Finally, she was "able to pull herself up and peek into a window of the bar. That's when she saw it. A sign inside that said: 'Topless Dancing.' "

Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the New York Post, said Musetto "was one of the legends of our business." He added that Musetto wasn't just a headline writer. "[F]or those who worked with him and mourn him today, [Musetto] offered so much more. Humor. A sharp critical eye. A personal warmth with his colleagues, and deep love for The Post and its readers. All will miss him."

Belsky said of Musetto's death, "I knew this was coming, but that doesn't make it any easier to take."

The New York Times reports Musetto grew up in Boonton, N.J., and earned a bachelor's degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Musetto spent over 40 years at the Post but was let go during budget cuts in 2013. His last role at the Post was that of film critic.

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