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Art Buchwald, 1925-2007

Filed under: In Memoriam   Tagged: , ,

I’m sad to read this. Kathryn Harris writes for Bloomberg (which could use better copy editing):
Art Buchwald, the Pulitzer Prize- winning columnist and humorist who for more than a half-century lampooned the mighty in the nation’s capital and managed to find comic relief in his own fight against kidney failure, has died. He was 81.

Buchwald died at his son Joel’s home in the Wesley Heights section of northwest Washington, with his son and daughter Jennifer at his side, said friend Ben Bradlee, former Washington Post editor. The cause of death was kidney failure, according to the New York Times.

“He had an outlook on current events that made people smile and made people thoughtful and that’s really a hell of a contribution when you think of it,” Bradlee said in a telephone interview.

Buchwald ended his regular column in January 2006, before he underwent a leg amputation below one knee and entered a hospice. At the time, an assistant told USA Today that the surgery was prompted by a vascular condition.

Buchwald chose to discontinue dialysis and later left the hospice. In the following months, he defied expectations of imminent death and went on to give numerous interviews, write about death and publish a book, “Too Soon to Say Goodbye.”

“What’s beautiful about death is you can say anything you want to, as long as you don’t lord it over others that you know something they don’t,” he wrote in a March 14 article in the Washington Post. “The thing that is very important, and why I’m writing this, is that whether they like it or not, everyone is going to go. The big question we still have to ask is not where we’re going, but what were we doing here in the first place?” Cont’d.


I totally admire him for dying as he pleased, and not letting anyone persuade him to do otherwise.
(Did he ever get an answer to “what are we doing here in the first place? I’m sure we’d all love to know the answer to that one!)

Any writer that makes you smile is invaluable. Buchwald lived in Paris and as is known started his column there. Among his friends was Irwin Shaw my favorite short story writer. I am trying to read a story Shaw published in the New Yorker in the early forties that has never been collected. I would be grateful for any tips on locating the story. Thanks

Edward SchonbergJanuary 20, 2007

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