By Barbara Amiel - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 0 Comments
Barbara Amiel on a moral man who couldn’t turn his back on truth
I didn’t know Peter Worthington, co-founder of the Toronto Sun chain, had fallen ill last week until I got an email from a family member. Peter had been in Mexico and on his return a virulent staph infection set in. “Can one see him?” I asked but his organs were already compromised and the reply came a day or two later from son-in-law David Frum. Peter was “down a road on which there are no good destinations . . . every option explained to him by medical team . . . he refused heroic measures.” So Peter remained lucid and aware in his hospital bed, joking with family, his wife, Yvonne by his side. Goodbyes were exchanged and the utter bleakness of the situation was lightened by Worthington’s inevitable need to poke fun at himself. When he had winked at his mischievous granddaughter and whispered, “I’ll see you down there” (referring to hell), when he had stayed tears with laughter, he requested a sedative knowing he would not wake. He was letting go with a smile, a quip, giving his family a final remembrance of him sleeping peacefully. He was 86, but he might as well have been in his twenties. He was, in the best sense, the Peter Pan who never grew old.
There is a moment, less than a beat of a second, when a living being leaves its physical body. What was animate becomes nothing. An empty sac. To see it happen to one you love is indescribable, no words can express this emotional wasteland. Worthington departed with his customary dignity and lack of vanity. He never wanted to draw attention to himself and was deeply suspicious of those who did. Hence his lack of interest in interviewing the Great and Good though they were available to him. He was more curious about the tyrant, the eccentric, the men at the centre of a storm. His autobiography, Looking for Trouble, is both a superb memoir and equally a brilliant reportage and analysis of the modern world. He was a Canadian original who could not even get the Order of Canada—not that he felt he deserved or ever coveted one. That world, dominated by a coalition of media, bureaucrats and intelligentsia all with mildly leftish views, never warmed to him. He was at best, they felt, some anti-intellectual contrarian, certainly not one of them. In fact he was dead straight, a moral man who simply couldn’t turn his back on truth.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 8:17 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO, Cananda – Peter Worthington, the veteran newspaperman who co-founded the Toronto Sun, has…
TORONTO, Cananda – Peter Worthington, the veteran newspaperman who co-founded the Toronto Sun, has died. He was 86.
His wife, Yvonne Crittenden, confirmed that her husband died on Sunday night.
The Toronto Sun said Monday on its website that Worthington was admitted to Toronto General Hospital last Thursday and diagnosed with a serious staph infection that compromised his heart, kidneys and other organs.
The Sun said he passed away at about midnight Sunday in hospital, surrounded by his wife and family, including his grandchildren.
Worthington, along with J. Douglas Creighton and Don Hunt, founded the Sun in 1971, along with about 60 former staffers from the defunct Toronto Telegram.
He served as executive editor and editor-in-chief of the paper, and also made two unsuccessful runs for political office.
During his career, he won four National Newspaper Awards, a National Newspaper Citation and was also named to the Canadian News Hall of Fame, the Sun said.
David Frum, Worthington’s son-in-law, remembers Worthington in a piece today on The Daily Beast:
“A gifted athlete and a shrewd businessman, Peter Worthington excelled at everything he did. He seemed beyond ordinary human weakness: He suffered a heart attack thirty years ago and was saved by a bypass operation. He filed a series of columns for the Sun detailing his operation, and within a very few weeks afterward, celebrated his recovery by climbing China’s Mount Gonga.
Yet time catches up with even the most indestructible men.”
Frum says Worthington was admitted to hospital May 3 after suffering an “abrupt health crisis.” His family was with him until he died.
“Soon the fuller and longer tributes will come. But Peter, never one to trust others to get the story, has scooped us all by writing his own obituary, which will appear in tomorrow’s Toronto Sun - one last byline for the man who won more National Newspaper Awards than any other writer in Canadian history.
And if there is a Heaven, Pete’s already baffling the angelic editors of the local press by producing copy faster than they can use it.”
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 8:15 AM - 0 Comments
Maritime legend sang of courage to rise above life’s challenges
TORONTO – Rita MacNeil, a singer-songwriter from small-town Canada whose powerful voice explored genres from country, to folk, to gospel, died Tuesday night following complications from surgery. She was 68.
Always seeming an unlikely star, MacNeil worked tirelessly over decades to gradually become a beloved fixture in Canadian culture, with her greatest success coming only after she was in her 40s.
Her spotless, astonishingly full voice carried a light Celtic lilt that only sweetened her dulcet tones, but she was a versatile singer who could coax grittier notes from her voice as well.
She was painfully shy and admitted to battling self-confidence issues, largely stemming from her weight. Yet she was a renowned live performer who sold out gigs around the world.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a dear sweet woman and a gifted singer-songwriter who represented women and her beloved Nova Scotia so eloquently in her songs,” singer Anne Murray said in a statement.
Country music legend Tommy Hunter said his ”one vivid memory” of MacNeil was when she was a guest on his show.
By macleans.ca - Monday, April 8, 2013 at 2:16 PM - 0 Comments
Singer and actress remembered as the queen of The Mickey Mouse Club
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 4:48 PM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – The man considered Canada’s ambassador of amateur sports, who brought football, figure…
TORONTO – The man considered Canada’s ambassador of amateur sports, who brought football, figure skating and the Olympic Games into the nation’s living rooms, has died.
Johnny Esaw died Saturday in Toronto after suffering from respiratory problems, his former employer CTV said Sunday.
The award-winning sportscaster was a longtime member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, which describes him as “a pioneer, an innovator, and a fervent supporter of our nation’s sporting achievements.”
Esaw “was at the forefront of sports broadcasting in Canada and around the world for more than 40 years,” the organization says.
He was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2004.
By The Associated Press - Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 12:19 PM - 0 Comments
MIAMI – Lilly Pulitzer, a Palm Beach socialite turned designer whose tropical print dresses…
MIAMI – Lilly Pulitzer, a Palm Beach socialite turned designer whose tropical print dresses became a sensation in the 1960s and later a fashion classic, died Sunday. She was 81.
Her death was confirmed by Gale Schiffman of Quattlebaum Funeral and Cremation Services in West Palm Beach. She did not know Pulitzer’s cause of death.
Pulitzer, who married into the famous newspaper family, got her start in fashion by spilling orange juice on her clothes. A rich housewife with time to spare and a husband who owned orange groves, she opened a juice stand in 1959, and asked her seamstress to make dresses in colorful prints that would camouflage fruit stains.
By macleans.ca - Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 11:29 PM - 0 Comments
Montreal bodybuilding guru leaves behind ‘fantastic legacy of a fitter world’
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 2:09 PM - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – A convicted terrorist who played a pivotal role in Quebec’s 1970 October…
MONTREAL – A convicted terrorist who played a pivotal role in Quebec’s 1970 October Crisis, and later remained active in political causes, has died at age 69.
After suffering a stroke, Paul Rose passed away this morning in a Montreal hospital, surrounded by his family.
He was a member of the FLQ cell that kidnapped Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte in 1970.
Rose was convicted of Laporte’s murder and sentenced to life in prison, but he was paroled in 1982.
Rose’s death was confirmed in a statement from a newspaper he contributed to, L’Aut’ Journal.
It said he died while his children read poems such as the classic 19th century song, “A Wandering Canadian.” That song was written in the wake of the 1837 rebellions, and the forced exile of those who fought against the Crown.
Upon leaving prison, Rose became involved in union causes and politics. He became leader of the Party of Socialist Democracy in Quebec, which had been an offshoot of the now-defunct Quebec provincial NDP.
Last year, he spoke at a rally of the CLASSE, the more militant faction of Quebec’s student protest movement.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 6:32 AM - 0 Comments
VICTORIA – Supporters called Victoria lawyer Doug Christie a staunch defender of free speech…
VICTORIA – Supporters called Victoria lawyer Doug Christie a staunch defender of free speech while detractors criticized his legal defence of people charged with hate crimes.
Christie died in hospital on Monday night at the age of 66.
His wife, Keltie Zubko, told The Canadian Press her husband, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011, died of metastatic liver disease.
She said Christie was surrounded by his family.
Christie’s client list includes former Nazi prison guard Michael Seifert, Holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel and self-proclaimed Nazi-sympathizer Paul Fromm.
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:47 AM - 0 Comments
Former Agriculture Minister was known for his trademark Stetson and his bull-in-a-china-shop bluntness
TORONTO – Eugene Whelan, a folksy farmer in a green Stetson who spent a dozen years as Canada’s flamboyant minister of agriculture, has died at the age of 88.
Kirk Walstedt, a longtime friend and former colleague, told The Canadian Press Whelan died Tuesday night from complications from a stroke.
Whelan had emergency surgery in February 1997 to replace part of his aorta and repair his heart valve, but Walstedt said his friend of about 60 years had ‘‘recovered quite nicely from that.‘‘
‘‘His health as pretty good up until last summer when he had a stroke.‘‘
Whelan served as the Liberal MP for Essex-Windsor in southwestern Ontario from 1962 until 1984. He served as agriculture minister under then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau from 1972 through 1984, except for nine months in 1979-80 when the Conservatives took office.
Walstedt said Whelan would often say he was one of the few cabinet ministers Trudeau could send to Western Canada who would be respected and liked.
By The Associated Press - Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:47 PM - 0 Comments
BRYAN, Ohio – Andre Cassagnes, the inventor of the Etch A Sketch toy that…
BRYAN, Ohio – Andre Cassagnes, the inventor of the Etch A Sketch toy that generations of children drew on, shook up and started over, has died in France, the toy’s maker said.
Cassagnes died Jan. 16 in a Paris suburb at age 86, said the Ohio Art Co., based in Bryan in northwest Ohio. The cause wasn’t disclosed Saturday.
“Etch A Sketch has brought much success to the Ohio Art Company, and we will be eternally grateful to Andre for that. His invention brought joy to so many over such a long period of time,” said Larry Killgallon, president of Ohio Art.
Then an electrical technician, Cassagnes came upon the Etch A Sketch idea in the late 1950s when he peeled a translucent decal from a light switch plate and found pencil mark images transferred to the opposite face, the Toy Industry Association said.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, December 31, 2012 at 11:14 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Television producer and journalist Douglas Leiterman, who was championed as one of…
TORONTO – Television producer and journalist Douglas Leiterman, who was championed as one of the “defining figures” of Canadian television for co-creating the popular and controversial public affairs CBC show “This Hour Has Seven Days,” has died.
He died at his winter home in Vero Beach, Fla., on Dec. 19, according to a death notice. He was 85.
“‘This Hour Has Seven Days’ inspired us, a whole generation of us. It certainly redefined the documentary in Canada,” said Mark Starowicz, executive director of documentary programming at CBC-TV.
“With no exaggeration, to this day we use approaches and techniques that were incubated under Douglas Leiterman.”
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 7:57 PM - 0 Comments
Norman Schwarzkopf has died, the Associated Press reports.
The retired general — nicknamed ‘Stormin…
Norman Schwarzkopf has died, the Associated Press reports.
The retired general — nicknamed ‘Stormin Norman’ — led Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War.
Upon news of his death, a message was released on behalf of former U.S. president George Bush, who remains in hospital in Houston:
“Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation. A distinguished member of that Long Gray Line hailing from West Point, General Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the ‘duty, service, country’ creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great Nation through our most trying international crises. More than that, he was a good and decent man — and a dear friend. Barbara and I send our condolences to his wife Brenda and his wonderful family.”
Here is how Schwarzkopf is being remembered on Twitter:
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:42 AM - 0 Comments
QUEBEC – Camil Samson, a firebrand populist Quebec politician who campaigned actively for the…
QUEBEC – Camil Samson, a firebrand populist Quebec politician who campaigned actively for the federalist No side in the 1980 referendum, has died.
The 77-year-old Samson died in a Quebec City hospital on Tuesday.
Samson was born in 1935 in the Quebec town of Shawinigan, just a stone’s throw away from former prime minister Jean Chretien’s birthplace.
It was Chretien who recruited Samson in the 1980 referendum campaign partly because of his colourful and direct oratory.
Samson ran unsuccessfully for the Credit social in the 1963 and 1965 federal elections and was then defeated in the 1966 Quebec election under the banner of another fledgling party.
He went on to found the Ralliement creditiste du Quebec in 1970 and led the upstart populist party to 12 seats barely a month later in the provincial election that saw Robert Bourassa first become premier.
Samson lost as a Quebec Liberal candidate in the 1981 provincial election, became a radio host and then failed to become an MP for the federal Liberals in 1993.
By maclean's - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 5:38 AM - 0 Comments
Sitar master bridged East and West — ‘a global ambassador of India’s cultural heritage’
By The Canadian Press - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
She was Canada’s Sweetheart.
Barbara Ann Scott, the only Canadian to win the Olympic…
She was Canada’s Sweetheart.
Barbara Ann Scott, the only Canadian to win the Olympic women’s figure skating gold medal, died Sunday at the age of 84.
She died at her Amelia Island, Fla., home with her husband Tom King by her side. The cause of death is not known.
“Barbara Ann set the standard for generations of female athletes and women skaters who came after her,” said Skate Canada president Benoit Lavoie in a statement. “The discipline and focus that she learned early in her career were the foundation of her success, as Canadian, North American, European, World and Olympic Champion.”
The Barbara Ann Scott Doll, made after her 1948 Winter Games triumph at St. Moritz, Switzerland, remains a prized possession of admirers and collectors alike. She was honorary chair of the 2006 world championships in Calgary and her autograph was the most coveted by fans of the sport during her visit.
“She remained so connected to the sport, and to Canada after her own career was over,” said Lavoie. “Every time she attended our events, she inspired our skaters and encouraged them to pursue their dreams.
“We extend our sincere sympathy to her husband Tom, her family, and her friends. She will be sadly missed by the international skating community and by her many fans worldwide.”
Her married name was Mrs. Thomas Van Dyke King, but most simply called her Barbara Ann.
She was a role model for young Canadian women in the late 1940s and early 1950s. She won the admiration of Canadians with her beauty and grace, on and off the ice, and she dazzled the world.
Scott won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete in 1945, 1947 and 1948. She was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1955 and the Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1991. She became an officer of the Order of Canada in 1991, was inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and was named to Canada’s Walk of Fame in 1998.
In 2009, she carried the Olympic torch into the House of Commons on its journey to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games.
Scott was born in Ottawa in 1928 and began skating at age seven at the Minto Club.
She was only 12 when she won the national junior championship. She became, at age 13 in 1942, the first woman to land a double Lutz in competition. Coached by Otto Gold and by Sheldon Galbraith, she was national senior champion by the age of 15 and won the title three more times. She also was winning North American championships, and by the time she was 17 she was posing for renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh.
Ottawa friends raised enough money to send Scott, her mother and a coach to the 1947 European championships in Davos, Switzerland, and the world championships in Stockholm. She won both titles.
Upon her return to Ottawa, children were let out of school and were among 70,000 admirers who lined the streets as she stood waving from a convertible as a band played Let Me Call You Sweetheart. She was given the key to the city and a new yellow convertible but returned it after Avery Brundage, president-elect of the International Olympic Committee, said she’d lose her Olympic eligibility by accepting the gift.
She won the European title again in 1948 in Prague. The rules were then changed to allow only Europeans to enter.
It was in St. Moritz, Switzerland, at the 1948 Olympics on Jan. 31, where she posted her greatest win — in difficult circumstances. The ice at the outdoor venue was chewed up by hockey players and the temperature just above freezing when rink attendants removed the hockey boards and decided to resurface the ice. A slushy mess greeted the figure skaters after the sun rose.
Scott revised her four-minute program because of the poor ice. She did one double loop instead of three at the beginning and ended with three double Salchows instead of the double loops original choreographed. Her bright blue eyes glittering, she emerged victorious.
“When you have to skate outside in the elements, you tend not to worry about the small stuff,” she said at the time.
Two forwards from the Ottawa RCAF Flyers team, who had won the hockey gold medals, hoisted her on their shoulders and the photo was distributed around the world.
“Beauteous Barbara Ann Scott, Canada’s sparkling ballerina on the ice, won the women’s figure skating championships before 7,000 dazzled admirers who hailed her performance as superior to Sonja Henie’s best as an amateur,” the New York Daily News reported.
She went on to Davos to win another world championship. She was 19 and she’d won the European, world and Olympic titles in a six-week period. She returned home a hero, and she finally got that convertible. The personalized licence plate read 48-VI, signifying her triumph at the 1948 sixth Winter Olympics.
Prime Minister Mackenzie King lauded her success as a factor in helping her fellow Canadians persevere through the era’s post-war gloom. Her face graced the cover of Time magazine, and the Reliable Toy Company created a doll in her image.
She left the competitive scene and skated in ice shows for the next five years, succeeding Henie as the feature performer in the Hollywood Ice Revue. Her contract stipulated that a percentage of all her earnings go to aid crippled children.
She grew tired of living out of a suitcase and gave it all up at age 25 and in 1955 married King, who was the publicity agent for her touring show. They settled in Chicago.
Scott turned her attention to raising show horses and became one of the top-rated equestriennes in the United States.
She appeared in television commercials, authored two books, ran a beauty salon for a time, was a director of a summer theatre. She remained involved in figure skating as a judge at competitions and often returned to Canada as an honoured guest at sport and charity events. She was one of the first Canadians to carry the Olympic torch on its way to Calgary for the 1988 Winter Games.
An Ottawa arena is named after her.
Her last nationals were in Calgary in 1948, which is why she always looked forward to returning to that city.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 9:07 PM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – Raylene Rankin of the internationally acclaimed Nova Scotia musical group The Rankin Family died Sunday after losing her fight with cancer.
HALIFAX – Raylene Rankin of the internationally acclaimed Nova Scotia musical group The Rankin Family died Sunday after losing her fight with cancer.
She was 52.
Marlene Palmer, group’s tour publicist, said Rankin’s sister confirmed the death.
Rankin and her four siblings — John Morris, Jimmy, Cookie and Heather — formed the group more than 20 years ago and are credited with taking Cape Breton Celtic music to the mainstream.
In a statement provided by Palmer, Heather Rankin said her sister fought “a very long and courageous battle with grace and dignity and was an inspiration.”
“Throughout her struggle with cancer she never ceased to show her concern for her friends and family,” she said.
“Right up until her last hours of life she was still expressing concern for others. She worried for all of her family and friends, a beautiful lady indeed.”
Heather Rankin described her sister as generous and kind hearted.
“She was a little bit older and she took on the role of protector of the younger members of her clan,” she said.
“She was a very bright lady and a strong leader and I often looked to her for guidance and I will have a very large void in my life now that she is gone.”
Members of Canada’s music community were mourning Raylene Rankin’s death on Sunday.
Fellow Cape Breton singer Rita MacNeil said she was devastated when she heard the news.
“I’ve known Raylene a long time. We have lost a great musician and a wonderful person,” MacNeil said in a statement. “It’s a lasting legacy. An inspiration to all women.”
Singer Anne Murray added that Rankin will “live on through her music.”
“It is a sad loss of a fine talent from a family who has endured so much tragedy already,” she said in a statement.
In 2000, John Morris Rankin died when his truck plunged into the icy Gulf of St. Lawrence near Margaree Harbour, N.S. He was 40.
Federal Heritage Minister James Moore offered his condolences to Raylene Rankin’s family and friends on Sunday.
“Her musical talent charmed the nation,” he said in a statement which highlighted the many Canadian music awards won by The Rankin Family.
Father Angus Morris of St. Mary’s Parish in Mabou, N.S., said Rankin is survived by her husband Colin Anderson and her son Alexander.
Rankin grew up in the close-knit community of Mabou with her mother Kathleen, her father Alexander and 12 siblings, The Rankin Family website said.
The family band first formed under the name The Rankins and won a host of awards over a 10 years period, the website said.
In 1999, the group went their separate ways, with many members pursuing solo careers, it said. But in 2007, the four siblings reunited to form The Rankin Family.
By The Associated Press - Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 1:37 PM - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who led the newspaper to new levels of influence and profit amid some of the most significant moments in 20th-century journalism, died Saturday.
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who led the newspaper to new levels of influence and profit amid some of the most significant moments in 20th-century journalism, died Saturday. He was 86.
Sulzberger, who went by the nickname “Punch” and served with the Marine Corps in World War II and Korea before joining the Times staff as a reporter, died at his home in Southampton, New York, after a long illness, his family announced.
During his three-decade-long tenure, the newspaper won 31 Pulitzer prizes, published the Pentagon Papers and won a libel case victory in New York Times vs. Sullivan that established important First Amendment protections for the press. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees press freedom and other basic rights.
“Punch, the old Marine captain who never backed down from a fight, was an absolutely fierce defender of the freedom of the press,” his son, and current Times publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., said in a statement. He said his father’s refusal to back down in the paper’s free-speech battles “helped to expand access to critical information and to prevent government censorship and intimidation.”
In an era of declining newspaper readership, the Times’ weekday circulation climbed from 714,000 when Sulzberger became publisher in 1963 to 1.1 million upon his retirement as publisher in 1992. Over the same period, the annual revenues of the Times’ corporate parent rose from $100 million to $1.7 billion.
“Above all, he took the quality of the product up to an entirely new level,” the late Katharine Graham, chairwoman of The Washington Post Co., said at the time Sulzberger relinquished the publisher’s title. When she died in 2001, he returned the praise, saying she “used her intelligence, her courage and her wit to transform the landscape of American journalism.”
Sulzberger was the only grandson of Adolph S. Ochs (pronounced ox), the son of Bavarian immigrants who took over the Times in 1896 and built it into the most influential U.S. newspaper. The family retains a controlling interest to this day, holding a separate block of Class B shares that have more powerful voting rights than the company’s publicly traded shares.
Power was thrust on Sulzberger at the age of 37 after the sudden death of his brother-in-law in 1963. He had been in the Times executive suite for eight years in a role he later described as “vice-president in charge of nothing.”
But Sulzberger directed the Times’ evolution from an encyclopedic paper of record to a more reader-friendly product that reached into the suburbs and across the U.S.
During his tenure, the Times started a national edition, bought its first colour presses, and introduced popular as well as lucrative new sections covering topics such as science, food and entertainment.
A key figure in the transformation was A.M. Rosenthal, executive editor from 1977 to 1986. Rosenthal, who died in 2006, called Sulzberger “probably the best publisher in modern American history.”
Sulzberger also improved the paper’s bottom line, pulling it and its parent company out of a tailspin in the mid-1970s and lifting both to unprecedented profitability a decade later.
In 1992, Sulzberger relinquished the publisher’s job to his 40-year-old son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., but remained chairman of The New York Times Co.
Sulzberger retired as chairman and chief executive of the company in 1997. His son then was named chairman. Sulzberger stayed on the Times Co. board of directors until 2002.
Significant free-press and free-speech precedents were established during Sulzberger’s years as publisher, most notably the Times vs. Sullivan case. It resulted in a landmark 1964 Supreme Court ruling that shielded the press from libel lawsuits by public officials unless they could prove actual malice.
In 1971, the Times led the First Amendment fight to keep the government from suppressing publication of the Pentagon Papers, a series of classified reports on the Vietnam War. Asked by a reporter who at the Times made the decision to publish the papers, Sulzberger gestured toward his chest and silently mouthed the word “Me.”
Sulzberger read the more than 7,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers before deciding to publish them. After Sulzberger read the papers, he was asked what he thought. “Oh, I would think about 20 years to life,” he responded.
But in a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court eventually sided with the Times and The Washington Post, which had begun publishing the papers a few days after the Times.
Gay Talese, who worked at the Times as a reporter when Sulzberger took over and chronicled the paper’s history in his book “The Kingdom and the Power,” called him “a brilliant publisher. He far exceeded the achievements of his father in both making the paper better and more profitable at a time when papers are not as good as they used to be.”
In their book “The Trust,” a history of the Ochs-Sulzberger family and its stewardship of the paper, Susan E. Tifft and Alex S. Jones cited Sulzberger’s “common sense and unerring instincts.”
In an interview in 1990 with New York magazine, Sulzberger was typically candid about the paper’s readership.
“We’re not New York’s hometown newspaper,” he said. “We’re read on Park Avenue, but we don’t do well in Chinatown or the east Bronx. We have to approach journalism differently than, say, the Sarasota Herald Tribune, where you try to blanket the community.”
In the mid-1980s, Sulzberger authorized the building of a $450 million colour printing and distribution plant across the Hudson River in Edison, New Jersey, part of a plan to get all printing out of cramped facilities in the Times building in Manhattan.
Sulzberger was born in New York City on Feb. 5, 1926, the only son of Arthur Hays Sulzberger and his wife, Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger, Adolph’s only child. One of his three sisters was named Judy, and from early on he was known as “Punch,” from the puppet characters Punch and Judy.
Sulzberger’s grandfather led the paper until his death in 1935, when he was followed by Sulzberger’s father, who remained at the helm until he retired in 1961.
Meanwhile, Arthur served in the Marines during World War II and, briefly, in Korea. He later observed, in a typically self-deprecating remark, that “My family didn’t worry about me for a minute. They knew that if I got shot in the head it wouldn’t do any harm.”
Except for a year at The Milwaukee Journal, 1953-54, the younger Sulzberger spent his entire career at the family paper. He joined after graduating from Columbia College in 1951. He worked in European bureaus for a time and was back in New York by 1955, but found he had little to do.
Sulzberger had not been expected to assume power at the paper for years. His father passed control to Orvil E. Dryfoos, his oldest daughter’s husband, in 1961. But two years later Dryfoos died suddenly of heart disease at 50. Punch Sulzberger’s parents named him publisher, the fourth family member to hold the title.
“We had all hoped that Punch would have many years more training before having to take over,” said his mother, Iphigene. Sulzberger relied on senior editors and managers for advice, and quickly developed a reputation as a solid leader.
At various times, Sulzberger was a director or chairman of the Newspaper Advertising Bureau, American Newspaper Publishers Association and American Press Institute. He was a director of The Associated Press from 1975 to 1984.
Sulzberger married Barbara Grant in 1948, and the couple had two children, Arthur Jr. and Karen. After a divorce in 1956, Sulzberger married Carol Fox. The couple had a daughter, Cynthia, and Sulzberger adopted Fox’s daughter from a previous marriage, Cathy.
Carol Sulzberger died in 1995. The following year, Sulzberger married Allison Cowles, the widow of William H. Cowles 3rd, who was the president and publisher of The Spokesman-Review and Spokane Chronicle of Spokane, Washington state.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, September 24, 2012 at 5:41 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Media reports say Sam Sniderman, the founder of the legendary Sam the Record Man music store, has died.
TORONTO – Sam Sniderman, the founder of the legendary Sam the Record Man music store, has died.
He was 92.
A release issued today says Sniderman passed away peacefully in his sleep Sunday, surrounded by loved ones, in Toronto.
Sniderman opened his flagship store on Toronto’s Yonge Street in 1959.
The iconic store with its huge flashing red neon record signs closed in 2007, seven years after he retired.
A major promoter of Canadian music, Sniderman was a Member of the Order of Canada, an inductee of the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. He also received a Governor General award and Honorary doctorates from Ryerson University and the University of Prince Edward Island.
Known widely as Sam the Record Man, Sniderman and his brother, Sid opened a small store on College Street in Toronto in 1937 and together they built a chain of Sam the Record Man stores that spanned the country.
“Sam was the last of the great Canadian showmen that were able to establish themselves as household names purely through the force of their personality”, said Brian Robertson, a close family friend and Chairman Emeritus of the Canadian Recording Industry Association.
“He was a mentor to literally hundreds of Canadian artists and musicians and the Yonge Street record store and Sam’s presence there was the centre of the Canadian music industry’s universe for over three decades.”
The family says a service will be held Tuesday, September 25, and that an October Memorial Service will be announced.
By macleans.ca - Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 5:10 PM - 0 Comments
On clear night with a full moon, “think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink,” says his family
By Mika Rekai - Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM - 0 Comments
She loved the outdoors, even taking her boys skiing as babies. At 50, she got on a bike for the first time and found a new love.
Elizabeth Ann Sovis was born in Toronto on Feb. 25, 1949, to Stephen and Judith Sovis. Her sister, Millie, who was almost 16 at the time, and had been longing for a sibling all her life, hurled her schoolbooks in the air and leapt up in celebration upon learning she had a sister. “She was such a charmer right from birth,” Millie says. “People were drawn to her like a magnet.”
Stephen and Judith had immigrated from Slovakia, and raised the girls in Toronto, where Stephen became a contractor and Judith worked as a seamstress. Judith and Millie both loved to sew for baby Elizabeth, and it was common to see eight or nine tiny dresses hanging to dry outside the house. When she was older, Elizabeth would use these same clotheslines as backdrops when she and her friends performed backyard plays. Elizabeth summered at the family cottage on Lake Simcoe, where she fell in love with hiking and gardening. One year, her father built her a wooden rowboat; she loved taking her mother out on the lake to fish.
At North York’s Willowdale Middle School, Elizabeth took a handful of classes with a shy, unassuming boy named Edmund Auger. They rarely spoke, but became good friends when they moved on to Northview Secondary School together. When hiking with a big group of friends they would often pair off to talk about books and ideas. At 17, they realized they were a couple. But, a few months later, when Edmund was offered a scholarship to Wilfrid Laurier University, they went their separate ways.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 7:02 AM - 0 Comments
The last known gay and Jewish survivor of the Holocaust died on Sunday in…
The last known gay and Jewish survivor of the Holocaust died on Sunday in Berlin, six days short of his 89th birthday, the Jerusalem Post reports. Gad Beck was a gay activist in anti-homosexual, post-World War II Germany.
The Nazis defined Beck as a “mischling,” meaning half-breed. He and his father were sent to a holding compound in the Rosenstrasse in central Berlin until the non-Jewish wives of the prisoners launched a street protest in 1943. Beck was released.
He had more close calls with Nazis. In an attempt to rescue his boyfriend, Manfred Lewin, Beck wore a Hitler Youth uniform and went into a deportation centre to free him. Lewin refused to separate himself from his family, and the Nazis deported he and his family to Auschwitz where they were murdered.
Years later, Beck responded to claims that he was a hero for gay rights. “The Americans in New York called me a great hero,” he said. “I said no…I’m really a little hero.”
By Jaime Weinman - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 2:51 PM - 0 Comments
When I learned Andrew Sarris died, I mentioned that reading The American Cinema in high school had changed the way I looked at movies. Turned out I’m not alone: a lot of people found that book in high school or college and consider it a formative experience. I was at a summer course at a high school in Ottawa, with a small library that didn’t provide a whole lot of choice of reading material during the lunch breaks. (Yes, this was before the internet became popular; I’m old; etc.) But it did have a copy of The American Cinema, Sarris’s 1968 book/manifesto – based on an issue he had done for the magazine Film Culture - where he placed five decades’ worth of Hollywood directors into categories. There was a “pantheon” of the best of the best, the canonical directors who made great movies and had their own signature style. There were the directors who may not have been so great, but had distinctive or interesting styles (“Expressive Esoterica”). Most controversially, there was the “Less Than Meets the Eye” category: directors with high reputations within the movie industry or among critics, but who really weren’t all that interesting (into this category he placed William Wyler, John Huston, George Stevens and – to his eventual regret – Billy Wilder).
It’s hard to describe what an impact The American Cinema had on a young reader. If you’re a young person with an interest in classic film, you’ll know the stars, and some of the directors, and your idea of a quality film will be something along the lines of the Academy Awards’: a well-made, smart film with good writing and great star performances. That’s always been, and still is, Hollywood’s main definition of quality, and I’m not saying it’s a bad one. But Sarris, influenced by the things the French liked about American movies (and also by his friends like the brilliant New York Times third-string critic Eugene Archer and future ascot wearer Peter Bogdanovich), proposed a new way of looking at things. Directors define the movie more than stars, which is how John Ford and Howard Hawks can make distinctively different John Wayne Westerns. A movie can be intelligent, tasteful and deal with big issues, and still be less interesting than a Poverty Row picture made with real passion. I walked away from that book wanting to see the movies he mentioned – like Rio Bravo, for example – wanting to investigate these directors, wanting to understand the thematic and stylistic connections between the movies they made. Eye-opening.
Sarris was not the slickest prose stylist, sometimes falling into obscurity or banality, and like the French critics and filmmakers who influenced him, he was given to Moses-from-the-mountaintop pronouncements that didn’t leave a lot of room for nuance. He later came to regret some of the pronouncements: he placed Billy Wilder in the “Less Than Meets the Eye” category, mostly because Wilder was such an establishment favorite in Hollywood, and not long after the book was published he admitted that he was wrong. His Film Culture piece pronounced that Hollywood movies were “superior” to the output of any other country’s film industry; by the time he wrote The American Cinema, he walked this back to the more reasonable statement that Hollywood could “hold its own” with the rest of the world.
He was also criticized for writing as if the director does everything in the film, and the writer and producer have nothing to do with it. (Though honestly, every attempt to create an auteur theory for Hollywood writers has been a failure, because the writing credits in a Hollywood film often tell you nothing about who wrote what. The identity of the director or producer defines the writing style of most films more than the writing credit, rightly or wrongly; that’s just the way the system is set up.) The most potent attack, potent because it wasn’t entirely wrong, was that Sarris and other auteurists were reading too much into conventional genre films, and confusing self-plagiarism with artistic depth: Pauline Kael famously pointed out that just because a director’s new film is linked to things he’s done in the past, that doesn’t make it good.
Fair points, but the absolutism of The American Cinema was part of what made it work. There’s no room for hedging in criticism that aims to change minds and influence people. It’s probably better to err on the side of too much praise, or too much vitriol, than to err on the side of even-handed evaluation. An on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand review never drives people to the box office; it’s a rave that gets them in, and it’s a pan that keeps them out. Sarris needed the absolutism, the cocksuredness, to get us to reconsider our way of looking at American film. Whether Howard Hawks is great or overrated is an issue for another time; first he had to establish that he was important, and that his films are the product of one man’s distinctive personality. Those things were not widely known and understood outside France.
We can then find ourselves disagreeing with some of the rankings and the pronouncements, as he eventually did himself, but he recognized that first and foremost the pronouncements needed to be made. Without Sarris and other auteur critics, we wouldn’t be arguing about whether the American Hitchcock and Howard Hawks and the post-World War II John Ford and Orson Welles belong in the pantheon. They simply wouldn’t be considered worthy of serious attention, because most influential American critics felt that Hitchcock had lost it after he left England, and that Ford sold out when he started making mostly Westerns and that Welles never made anything worthwhile after The Magnificent Ambersons.
Sarris was building on the work of other critics – Manny Farber, the Cahiers du Cinema crowd in France – but they didn’t really try to create any kind of quasi-official canon of American film. Sarris did, and he did it at just the right time, with a boom in film as an academic discipline. Sarris provided a sort of alternative to the very dry, very anti-Hollywood version of film history that had been canonical in critical journals, courses and academic textbooks. And that had a huge influence on the way people discuss cinema history, whether they agree with his categories or not. His provocative alternative history of American movies became almost the official history.
In some ways, he was never quite as comfortable with reviews of big new movies as he was with older or underground films – partly because, with new movies, he often seemed to hedge, poking around the edges of the film instead of giving full-fledged raves. One of the few new movies that got an unqualified rave from him was Woody Allen’s Manhattan, which he called “The only truly great American film of the ’70s.” Most critics, obviously, didn’t see the ’70s that way. But he wasn’t always the sort of critic who could see a new film and pronounce it a masterpiece, and that, rightly or wrongly, is what a reviewer needs to be able to do to drum up enthusiasm. Sarris was able to do this when movies like Psycho were new, but in the ’70s, he didn’t have the enthusiasm or viciousness that would have made his reviews as influential as Kael’s.
Still, his reviews were full of charming moments and interesting observations. One of my favourites is from a 1962 piece about a bunch of bad movies he’s recently seen, done as a Socratic dialogue with himself. At the end we get this famous exchange, a bit of self-mockery of Sarris’s tendency to forgive a movie anything if there was a beautiful woman in it:
A. I’ll give you just three words to sum up your conception of the cinema as reflected in all these bad movies.
B. Girls! Girls! Girls!
A. The truth is out at last.
You can see him interviewed about his career in this clip at 15:18; in a somewhat ironic juxtaposition, it follows an interview with his arch-nemesis, John Simon. (Sarris, always bitter about Pauline Kael’s attack on him, always talked as if she were his arch-nemesis, but they weren’t really all that different in their views; Simon was the essence of a critic who hated most Hollywood product and considered both Sarris and Kael to be overgrown children raving about mass-produced trash.)