Belated R.I.P. to Stefan Kanfer

Somehow I didn’t get the memo that author/critic/journalist Stefan Kanfer passed away a year and a half ago. The years are flying by now. We’d exchanged some correspondence over the years. He had kindly reviewed my book No Applause in the Wall Street Journal in 2006. In turn, I’d reviewed his 2009 book Somebody: The Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando, and invited him to participate in events in Marxfest (and to see I’ll Say She Is), for he wrote the terrific Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx (2000). He also wrote about ten other books I’m dying to read, and now will move them to the top of my “to do”, now that I know there’ll be no more. He was a fascinating guy: he spoke Yiddish, he played the uke and musical saw, he’d been an editor at Time, and was in army intelligence during the Korean War. And he died in Sleepy Hollow. I have been to the graveyard there — I can’t imagine a better place on earth to make the transition to the ghostly realm. At any rate, this guy will be missed (even if it took me a few months to miss him. He was one of those guys I checked in with every year or so to see what the next book is.) He was 85 when he passed. It was a productive life.