Zozo Toledo, Turkey’s first paparazzo, dies of COVID-19

Zozo Toledo, Turkey’s first paparazzo, dies of COVID-19

Zozo Toledo, Turkey’s first paparazzo, dies of COVID-19

Zozo Toledo, 83, known as Turkey’s first paparazzo and who has worked for Hürriyet daily for many years, has died in an Istanbul hospital where he was being treated for COVID-19.

The 83-year-old journalist, who was buried in the Hasköy Jewish Cemetery, photographed many famous names and Hollywood stars, including Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot and Sean Connery.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of the oldest and most flamboyant socialite photographers in Turkey, the first paparazzi, our friend Don Jose De Toledo En Salinas, known as Zozo Toledo,” said a statement made by Magazine Journalists Association.

“My Zozo, Turkey’s most beloved tabloid journalist, has passed away. Rest in peace. Those were the years,” said Şehrazat, a songwriter for one of Turkey’s most popular Turkish songs at the time, on her social media account.

Toledo was born in 1937 in the Tophane neighbourhood of Istanbul to a Sephardic Jewish family. Growing up in an orphanage, the journalist was also fluent in Italian, French, Greek and Spanish languages.

Toledo’s life spanned a vivid career, ranging from the coffin business to working as a carpenter, from working as a masseur to paparazzo. Toledo also worked as a war correspondent. During his career, he took tens of thousands of photographs for many newspapers including the dailies Akşam, Günaydın, Sabah and Hürriyet.

The journalist also starred in the famous director Ferzan Özpetek’s “Hamam” and “Harem Suare” films.

Describing how he came together with world-famous names in an interview, Toledo had said that he owed the peak of his career to a film shot in Istanbul: “I photographed [Princess] Soraya, the ex-wife of the Shah of Iran, and Maximilan Shell, during the filming of a movie called “Topkapı.” These photos were scattered all over Europe. Then I started working with agencies around the world.”

“I kissed Queen Elizabeth’s hand. I took pictures of Grace Kelly in Monte Carlo. I photographed Brigitte Bardot, Sean Connery and Sophia Loren,” he had noted.