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Clifton Fadiman
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    (May 15, 1904-June 20, 1999)
    Born in Brooklyn, New York
    Author, editor, critic, and radio and TV personality
    Editor for Simon & Schuster (1927-37)
    Book reviewer for 'The New Yorker' (1933-43)
    Judge for the Book of the Month Club (1944-93)
    Member of the Board of Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (1959-98)
    Edited dozens of anthologies
    Wrote 'Reading I've Liked' (1941), 'Party of One' (1955), 'Any Number Can Play' (1957), 'The Lifetime Reading Plan' (1960), 'Enter Conversing' (1962) and 'The Joys of Wine' (1975)
    Hosted the radio program 'Information, Please!' (1938-48)
    Hosted the TV shows 'This Is Show Business' (1949-54), 'Information, Please!' (1952) and 'The Name's the Same' (1955)
    Received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation (1993)
    He earned money in college breaking in smoking pipes for wealthier classmates.
    As a critic, he dismissed William Faulkner as 'a minor talent.'
    He was hired by Samuel Goldwyn to recommend literature to adapt into films, 'But he paid no attention to what I sent along.' (With one notable exception: 'Wuthering Heights.')
    He listed his hobbies as wine and 'avoidance of exercise.'
    He was addicted to puns: 'the rhymes that try men's souls.'
    Modern Library hired him to translate Nietzsche's 'Ecco Homo' and 'The Birth of Tragedy' when he was still an undergraduate at Columbia.
    To write the entry on the history of children's literature for 'Encyclopedia Britannica,' he learned to read Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Swedish (being already fluent in French and German) in his 70s.
    He could read 80 pages an hour and estimated he read at least 25,000 books during his life.
    Even after losing his eyesight in his late 80s, he continued recommending picks for 'The Book of the Month Club' by listening to tapes of his son reading the books.
    NPR described him as 'a modern rarity, a man popular for being brazenly smart.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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