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January 24, 2019


Russell Baker, a great writer whose column I used to read obsessively, died Monday. Here's his obituary in The New York Times, where he worked for most of his career. Besides being wondrously talented, he was a truly nice guy; I was fortunate enough to get to know him a little, thanks to our mutual friendship with Art Buchwald.

HIs humor was a marvelous blend of wry and surreal, with just a touch of woeful. The Times obit includes a great anecdote: Russell was speaking to some college students, and somebody asked him what courses a journalism school should teach. He replied: “The ideal journalism school needs only one course. Students should be required to stand outside a closed door for six hours. Then the door would open, someone would put his head around the jamb and say, ‘No comment.’ The door would close again, and the students would be required to write 800 words against a deadline.”

Best possible answer. Another great one is gone.


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I too read him obsessively. He was smart, witty and accessible. Not unlike someone else we know.

His GROWING UP was a terrific book.

RIP, Mr. Baker. You will be missed.

I remember Mr. Baker fondly from “Masterpiece Theater.”

They just don't make 'em like this any more, a master essayist and gentle wit. Yes, RIP.

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