52 McGs.. The Best Obituaries from Legendary New York Times by Robert McG. Thomas

By Robert McG. Thomas

Among his committed fanatics, his items have been identified easily as McGs. With a "genius for illuminating that typically ephemeral apogee in people's lives after they end up in a position to producing a brightly burning spark" (Columbia Journalism Review), Robert McG. Thomas Jr. venerated interesting, unconventional lives with signature type and wit.

The ny Times obtained numerous letters through the years from readers moved to tears or laughter by way of a McG. Eschewing typically recognized matters, Thomas favorite unsung heroes, eccentrics, and underachievers, together with: Edward Lowe, the inventor of Kitty clutter ("Cat Owner's top Friend"); Angelo Zuccotti, the bouncer at El Morocco ("Artist of the Velvet Rope"); and Kay Halle, a glamorous Cleveland division shop heiress who bought sixty-four marriage proposals ("An Intimate of Century's Giants"). in a single of his vintage obituaries, Thomas defined Anton Rosenberg as a "storied someday artist and low musician who...

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Every lead was the subject’s life. Thomas had to keep syntax steady and see things whole, get the corpse across the Styx and into the reader’s field of vision—to say nothing of his weekday-morning attention span. In a genre that requires cramming, he never seems rushed. He could get things done with the confident simplicity of Trollope. “Mr. Anderson, a bachelor, was rich as well as lonely”—thus is an ex-slave and old soldier readied for his marriage to Miss Daisy Graham, the subject of the first piece in this collection.

A few other Americans, including the Brooklyn-born Sydney Franklin, had fought bulls in Spain as early as the 1930’s, but Mr. Fulton was the first to be elevated and confirmed as a matador in Spain. He had to endure years of fighting lesser bulls, though, often without pay, in remote arenas before he became a full matador in 1963, a decade after he had killed his first bull in Mexico. Even then he had trouble getting fights with good bulls in top arenas. He apparently never thought of giving up, but then Mr.

The 1971 trial drew widespread national attention, and although he was found not guilty, many believed that Mr. Ford had been the beneficiary of the very brand of distorted Southern justice he had exposed so vividly in his novel. “I don’t think he ever recovered from the trial,” said Ms. Cheney, an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech whose biography, “The Life and Letters of Jesse Hill Ford, Southern Writer,” has just been published by Edwin Mellen. ’” After that novel was published in 1975, he never wrote another.

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