George Plimpton

George Ames Plimpton (March 18, 1927 – September 25, 2003) was an American journalist, writer, literary editor, actor and occasional amateur sportsman. He is widely known for his sports writing and for helping to found The Paris Review, as well as his patrician demeanor and accent. He was also famous for "participatory journalism" which included competing in professional sporting events, acting in a Western, performing a comedy act at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and playing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra[1] and then recording the experience from the point of view of an amateur.

George Plimpton
George Plimpton 1993
George Plimpton in 1993
Born
George Ames Plimpton

March 18, 1927
DiedSeptember 25, 2003 (aged 76)
New York City, New York, U.S.
EducationSt. Bernard's School
Phillips Exeter Academy
Harvard University
University of Cambridge
OccupationJournalist, writer, literary editor, actor
Notable credit(s)
The Paris Review
Spouse(s)Freddy Medora Espy (1968–1988)
Sarah Whitehead Dudley (1991–2003 (his death))
Children4

Early life

Plimpton[2] was born in New York City on March 18, 1927, and spent his childhood there, attending St. Bernard's School and growing up in an apartment duplex on Manhattan's Upper East Side located at 1165 Fifth Avenue.[3] During the summers, he lived in the hamlet of West Hills, Huntington, Suffolk County on Long Island.[3][3]

He was the son of Francis T. P. Plimpton,[4] and the grandson of Frances Taylor Pearsons and George Arthur Plimpton.[5][6][7][8][9][10] His grandfather was the founder of the Ginn publishing company and a philanthropist.[11] His father was a successful corporate lawyer and partner of the law firm Debevoise and Plimpton who was appointed by President John F. Kennedy as U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Nations, serving from 1961 to 1965.[12]

His mother was Pauline Ames,[13] the daughter of botanist Oakes Ames and artist Blanche Ames. Both of Plimpton's maternal grandparents were born with the surname Ames; his mother was the granddaughter of Medal of Honor recipient Adelbert Ames (1835-1933), an American sailor, soldier, and politician, and Oliver Ames, a US political figure and the 35th Governor of Massachusetts (1887–1890). She was also the great-granddaughter on her father's side of Oakes Ames (1804–1873), an industrialist and congressman who was implicated in the Crédit Mobilier railroad scandal of 1872; and Governor-General of New Orleans Benjamin Franklin Butler, an American lawyer and politician who represented Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives and later served as the 33rd Governor of Massachusetts.[14]

George had three siblings: Francis Taylor Pearsons Plimpton Jr., Oakes Ames Plimpton,[15] and Sarah Gay Plimpton.

Education

Plimpton attended St. Bernard's School, Phillips Exeter Academy (from which he was expelled just shy of graduation), and Daytona Beach Mainland High School, where he received his high school diploma[16] before entering Harvard College in July 1944. He wrote for the Harvard Lampoon, was a member of the Hasty Pudding Club, Pi Eta, the Signet Society, and the Porcellian Club. He majored in English. Plimpton entered Harvard as a member of the Class of 1948, but did not graduate until 1950 due to intervening military service. He was also an accomplished birdwatcher.

Plimpton's studies were interrupted by military service lasting from 1945 to 1948, during which he served as a tank driver in Italy for the U.S. Army. After graduating from Harvard, he attended King's College at Cambridge University in England. He studied there from 1950 to 1952 and graduated with third class honors, BA in English.[17]

Career

Literary criticism

In 1953, Plimpton joined the influential literary journal The Paris Review, founded by Peter Matthiessen, Thomas H. Guinzburg, and Harold L. "Doc" Humes, becoming its first editor in chief. This periodical has carried great weight in the literary world, but has never been financially strong; for its first half-century, it was allegedly largely financed by its publishers and by Plimpton. Peter Matthiessen took the magazine over from Humes and ousted him as editor, replacing him with Plimpton, using it as his cover for his CIA activities. Jean Stein became his co-editor. Plimpton was associated with the literary magazine in Paris, Merlin, which folded because the State Department withdrew its support. Future Poet Laureate Donald Hall, who had met Plimpton at Exeter, was Poetry Editor. One of the magazine's most notable discoveries was author and screenplay writer Terry Southern, who was living in Paris at the time and formed a lifelong friendship with Plimpton, along with writer Alexander Trocchi and future classical and jazz pioneer David Amram.

Sports journalism

Outside the literary world, Plimpton was famous for competing in professional sporting events and then recording the experience from the point of view of an amateur. In 1958, prior to a post-season exhibition game at Yankee Stadium between teams managed by Willie Mays (National League) and Mickey Mantle (American League), Plimpton pitched against the National League. His experience was captured in the book Out of My League. (He intended to face both line-ups, but tired badly and was relieved by Ralph Houk.) Plimpton sparred for three rounds with boxing greats Archie Moore and Sugar Ray Robinson, while on assignment for Sports Illustrated.

In 1963, Plimpton attended preseason training with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League as a backup quarterback, and ran a few plays in an intrasquad scrimmage. These events were recalled in his best-known book Paper Lion, which was later adapted into a feature film starring Alan Alda, released in 1968. Plimpton revisited pro football in 1971,[18] this time joining the Baltimore Colts and seeing action in an exhibition game against his previous team, the Lions. These experiences served as the basis of another football book, Mad Ducks and Bears, although much of the book dealt with the off-field escapades of football friends such as Alex Karras and Bobby Layne. Another sports book, Open Net, saw him train as an ice hockey goalie with the Boston Bruins, even playing part of a National Hockey League preseason game.

Plimpton's The Bogey Man chronicles his attempt to play professional golf on the PGA Tour during the Nicklaus and Palmer era of the 1960s. Among other challenges for Sports Illustrated, he attempted to play top-level bridge, and spent some time as a high-wire circus performer. Some of these events, such as his stint with the Colts, and an attempt at stand-up comedy, were presented on the ABC television network as a series of specials.

In 1994 Plimpton appeared several times in the Ken Burns series Baseball where he shared some personal baseball experiences as well as other memorable events throughout the history of baseball.[19]

Sidd Finch

In the April 1, 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated, Plimpton pulled off one of the greatest April Fools' Day pranks of all time. With the help of the New York Mets organization and several Mets players, Plimpton wrote a convincing account of a new unknown pitcher in the Mets spring training camp named Siddhartha Finch who threw a baseball over 160 mph, wore a heavy boot on one foot, and was a practicing Buddhist with a largely unknown background.[20] The prank was so successful that many readers believed the story, and the ensuing popularity of the joke resulted in Plimpton writing an entire book on Finch.

Other writing

A personal friend of the New England Sedgwick family, Plimpton edited Edie: An American Biography with Jean Stein in 1982. He also appeared in a brief interview footage about Edie Sedgwick in the DVD extra for the film Ciao! Manhattan. In addition, he appeared in the PBS American Masters documentary on Andy Warhol. Plimpton also appeared in the closing credits of the 2006 film, Factory Girl.

Between 2000 and 2003, Plimpton wrote the libretto to a new opera Animal Tales, commissioned by Family Opera Initiative, with music by Kitty Brazelton directed by Grethe Barrett Holby. He wrote, "I suppose in a mild way there is a lesson to be learned for the young, or the young at heart – the gumption to get out and try one's wings."

Acting

Plimpton also appeared in a number of feature films as an extra and in cameo appearances. He had a small role in the Oscar-winning film Good Will Hunting,[21] playing a psychologist. Plimpton played Tom Hanks's antagonistic father in Volunteers.[22] He was also notable for his appearance in television commercials during the early 1980s, including a memorable campaign for Mattel's Intellivision. In this campaign, Plimpton aggressively touted the superiority of Intellivision video games over those of competitors such as the Atari 2600.[23]

He hosted Disney Channel's Mouseterpiece Theater (a Masterpiece Theatre spoof which featured Disney cartoon shorts). In the "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can" episode of The Simpsons, he hosts the "Spellympics" and attempts to bribe Lisa Simpson to lose with the offer of a scholarship at a Seven Sisters College and a hot plate; "it's perfect for soup!"[24] He had a recurring role as the grandfather of Dr. Carter on the NBC series ER.[25] He also appeared in an episode of the NBC sitcom Wings.

Plimpton appeared in the 1989 documentary The Tightrope Dancer which featured the life and the work of the artist Vali Myers. He was one of her original supporters and had published an article about her work in The Paris Review. He also appeared in the 1996 documentary When We Were Kings about the "Rumble in the Jungle" 1974 Ali-Foreman Championship fight opposite Norman Mailer crediting Muhammad Ali as a poet who composed the world's shortest poem: "Me? Whee!!"[26]

Plimpton was a member of the cast of the A&E TV series A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2001–02). In 2013, the documentary Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself, directed by Tom Bean and Luke Poling, was released. The film used archival audio and video of Plimpton lecturing and reading to create a posthumous narration.[27]

Fireworks

Plimpton was a demolitions expert in the post-World War II Army. After returning to New York from Paris, he routinely fired off fireworks at his evening parties.[28]

His enthusiasm for fireworks grew, and he was appointed Fireworks Commissioner of New York by Mayor John Lindsay,[28][29] an unofficial post he held until his death.[2]

In 1975, in Bellport, Long Island, Plimpton, with Fireworks by Grucci attempted to break the record for the world's largest firework.[30][31][32] His firework, a Roman candle named "Fat Man",[30][31][32] weighed 720 pounds (330 kg)[30] and was expected to rise to 1,000 feet (300 m)[32] or more[30] and deliver a wide starburst.[31] When lit, the firework remained on the ground and exploded, blasting a crater 35 feet (11 m) wide and 10 feet (3.0 m) deep.[32] A later attempt, fired at Cape Canaveral, rose approximately 50 feet (15 m) into the air and broke 700 windows in Titusville, Florida.[28]

With Felix Grucci, Plimpton competed in the 16th International Fireworks Festival in 1979 in Monte Carlo. After several problems with transporting and preparing the fireworks, Plimpton and Grucci became the first competitors from the United States to win the event.[29] Plimpton later wrote the book Fireworks, and hosted an A&E Home Video with the same name featuring his many fireworks adventures with the Gruccis of New York in Monte Carlo and for the 1983 Brooklyn Bridge Centennial.[2]

Parodies of Plimpton's career

A November 6, 1971, cartoon in The New Yorker by Whitney Darrow Jr. shows a cleaning lady on her hands and knees scrubbing an office floor while saying to another one: "I'd like to see George Plimpton do this sometime." In another cartoon in The New Yorker, a patient looks up at the masked surgeon about to operate on him and asks, "Wait a minute! How do I know you're not George Plimpton?"[33] A feature in Mad Magazine titled "Some Really Dangerous Jobs for George Plimpton" spotlighted him trying to swim across Lake Erie, strolling through New York's Times Square in the middle of the night, and spending a week with Jerry Lewis.[34]

Personal life

Plimpton was married twice.[2] His first wife, whom he married in 1968[35] and divorced in 1988, was Freddy Medora Espy, a photographer's assistant. She was the daughter of writers Willard R. Espy[36] and Hilda S. Cole, who had, earlier in her career, been a publicity agent for Kate Smith and Fred Waring.[37] They had two children: Medora Ames Plimpton and Taylor Ames Plimpton, who has published a memoir entitled Notes from the Night: A Life After Dark.

Ann Moller, Herb Caen and George Plimpton
Plimpton with Herb Caen and Ann Moller in 1993

In 1992, he married Sarah Whitehead Dudley, a graduate of Columbia University and a freelance writer.[38] She is the daughter of James Chittenden Dudley,[39] a managing partner of Manhattan-based investment firm Dudley and Company, and geologist Elisabeth Claypool. James and Elisabeth established the 36-acre (15 ha) Highstead Arboretum in Redding, Connecticut. George and Sarah were the parents of twin daughters Laura Dudley Plimpton and Olivia Hartley Plimpton.

Friendship with Robert Kennedy

At Harvard, Plimpton was a classmate and close personal friend of Robert Kennedy. Plimpton, along with former decathlete Rafer Johnson and American football star Rosey Grier, was credited with helping wrestle Sirhan Sirhan to the floor when Kennedy was assassinated following his victory in the 1968 California Democratic primary at the former Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.[40]

Death and tributes

Plimpton died on September 25, 2003, in his New York City apartment from an apparent heart attack. He was 76.[2]

An oral biography titled George, Being George was edited by Nelson W. Aldrich Jr., and released on October 21, 2008. The book offers memories of Plimpton from among other writers, such as Norman Mailer, William Styron, Gay Talese and Gore Vidal, and was written with the cooperation of both his ex-wife and his widow.

In the movie Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself, the writer James Salter said of Plimpton that "he was writing in a genre that really doesn't permit greatness."[41]

In 2006, the musician Jonathan Coulton wrote the song entitled "A Talk with George", a part of his 'Thing A Week' series, in tribute to Plimpton's many adventures and approach to life.[42]

Plimpton is the protagonist of the semi-fictional George Plimpton's Video Falconry, a 1983 ColecoVision game postulated by humorist John Hodgman and recreated by video game auteur Tom Fulp.[43]

Researcher and writer Samuel Arbesman filed with NASA to name an asteroid after Plimpton; NASA issued the certificate 7932 Plimpton in 2009.[44][45]

Selected works

Publications

Author

  • Letters in Training (letters to home from Italy, privately printed, 1946)
  • The Rabbit's Umbrella (children's book, 1955)
  • Out of My League (baseball, 1961)
  • Go Caroline, (about Caroline Kennedy, privately printed, 1963)
  • Paper Lion (about his experience playing professional football with the Detroit Lions, 1966)
  • The Bogey Man (about his experiences travelling with the PGA Tour, 1967)
  • Mad Ducks and Bears (about Detroit Lions linemen Alex Karras and John Gordy, with extensive chapters focused on Hall of Fame quarterback Bobby Layne and Plimpton's return to football, this time with the Baltimore Colts, 1973)
  • Shadow Box (about boxing, author's bout with Archie Moore, Ali-Foreman showdown in Zaire, 1977)
  • One More July (about the last NFL training camp of former Packer and future coach Bill Curry, 1977)
  • Fireworks: A History and Celebration (1984)
  • Open Net (about his experience playing professional ice hockey with the Boston Bruins, 1985)
  • The Curious Case of Sidd Finch (a novel that extends a Sports Illustrated April Fools piece about a fictitious baseball pitcher who could throw at over 160 mph (260 km/h), 1987)
  • The X Factor: A Quest for Excellence (1990)
  • The Best of Plimpton (1990)
  • Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career (1997)

Editor

  • Writers at Work (The Paris Review Interviews), several volumes
  • American Journey: the Times of Robert Kennedy (with Jean Stein)
  • As Told at the Explorers Club: More Than Fifty Gripping Tales of Adventure.

Introductions

  • The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the 20th Century's Preeminent Writers
  • Above New York, by Robert Cameron

Film appearances

Television appearances

Commercial appearances on television

  • Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, pitchman, himself, released by Oldsmobile in late 1968 for the 1969 model year
  • Intellivision, pitchman, himself, released by Mattel in 1980. Plimpton was featured in a string of Intellivision commercials and print ads in the early 1980s.
  • "Pop-Secret", pitchman, himself.

Literary characterizations

See also

  • P vip.svg Biography portal

Notes

  1. ^ The Best of Plimpton, p. 72
  2. ^ a b c d e Severo, Richard (September 26, 2003). "George Plimpton, Urbane and Witty Writer, Dies at 76". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Aldrich, p. 18
  4. ^ Margolick, David (July 31, 1983). "Obituary: Frances T. P. Plimpton, 82, Dies". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Chase, p. 140
  6. ^ Chase, p. 110
  7. ^ Chase, p. 86
  8. ^ Chase, p. 85
  9. ^ Calvin Gay Plimpton and Priscilla G. Lewis were the parents of George Arthur Plimpton. see Chase pp. 85–86
  10. ^ Miller, pp. 31–33
  11. ^ George Arthur Plimpton profile, findagrave.com; accessed October 26, 2015.
  12. ^ Aldrich, p. 19
  13. ^ Thomas, Jr., Robert McG. (April 17, 1995). "Obituary: Pauline A. Plimpton, 93, Author Of Works on Famed Relatives". The New York Times.
  14. ^ He was widely reviled for years after the war by Southern whites, who gave him the nickname "Beast Butler." He is also credited with saving Baltimore, Maryland during the Civil War.
  15. ^ Plimpton, Oakes Ames (Spring 2007). "Milton at the Midpoint of the Last Century: One Collection of Memories" (PDF). Milton Academy. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2010. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
  16. ^ "How Failing at Exeter made a Success of George Plimpton". Phillips Exeter Academy Bulletin. Spring 2002. Archived from the original on September 10, 2006.
  17. ^ Aldrich, Nelson. George, being George. p. 80.
  18. ^ Buttram, Bill (August 19, 1971). "Plimpton trying football again". The Free-Lance Star.
  19. ^ Baseball: A film by Ken Burns, PBS, 2010, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  20. ^ "SI Vault – April 1, 1985 – Page 76". www.si.com. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  21. ^ "Legendary Humorist, Poonster Dies at 76 | News | The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  22. ^ Volunteers, retrieved February 4, 2018
  23. ^ "George Plimpton, Paris Review Founder, Pitches 1980s Video Games for the Mattel Intellivision". Open Culture. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  24. ^ TV.com. "The Simpsons: I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can". TV.com. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  25. ^ Severo, Richard (September 27, 2003). "George Plimpton, Author And Editor, Is Dead at 76". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  26. ^ "Professor Muhammed Ali Delivers Lecture; Poems and Parables Fill Talk on Friendship | News | The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  27. ^ "George Plimpton | Full Film | American Masters | PBS". American Masters. May 16, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  28. ^ a b c McBride, Stewart (August 13, 1981). "George Plimpton". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  29. ^ a b Dowling, Kevin (August 27, 1979). "George Plimpton, Still Burning His Punk at Both Ends, Finds a Sport in Which He Can Sparkle". Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  30. ^ a b c d Pile, Stephen (1979). "Two: Off Duty". The Book of Heroic Failures: The Official Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain. Futura. p. 73. ISBN 0708819087.
  31. ^ a b c McBride, Stewart (August 13, 1981). "George Plimpton profile". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  32. ^ a b c d Creamer, Robert W., ed. (February 23, 1976). "SI Vault: Scorecard – 02.23.76". Sports Illustrated. p. 4. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013. But Fat Man sat heavily on the ground, sizzled, smoked and then exploded, leaving a gaping hole 10 feet deep and 35 feet wide.
  33. ^ Clarke, Gerald (September 21, 1970). "George Plimpton: The Professional Amateur". Time.
  34. ^ Arnie Kogen; Jack Davis (March 1973). "Some Really Dangerous Jobs For George Plimpton". Mad Magazine. 157: 37–39.
  35. ^ Curtis, Charlotte (March 29, 1968). "Plimpton Drops Singles for Doubles". The New York Times.
  36. ^ Thomas, Jr., Robert McG. (February 25, 1999). "Obituary: Willard Espy, Who Delighted In Wordplay, Is Dead at 88". The New York Times.
  37. ^ "Hilda Cole Espy, writer, 83". The New York Times. January 26, 1995.
  38. ^ "George Plimpton, Writer and editor, Is Wed to Sarah W. Dudley, a Writer". The New York Times. January 5, 1992.
  39. ^ "Obituary: James C. Dudley, 77, Investment Adviser". The New York Times. September 24, 1998.
  40. ^ "A Life On The Way To Death". TIME. June 14, 1968. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved April 27, 2008.
  41. ^ Ian Buckwalter (May 23, 2013). "'Plimpton!': A Fond Look At A Man Of Letters". NPR.
  42. ^ "A Talk with George – JoCopedia, the Jonathan Coulton wiki". www.jonathancoulton.com. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  43. ^ "Plimpton's Video Falconry". Newgrounds.com. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  44. ^ Arbesman, Samuel (September 27, 2009). "Naming the Sky: The true story of one man's quest to give George Plimpton a permanent presence in orbit". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  45. ^ 7932 Plimpton (1989 GP), ssd.jpl.nasa.gov; accessed October 26, 2015.

References

  • Aldrich, Nelson W. George, Being George: George Plimpton's Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals—and a Few Unappreciative Observers New York. Publisher: Random House, Inc., 2009 ISBN 0-8129-7418-2.
  • Chase, Levi Badger. A genealogy and historical notices of the family of Plimpton or Plympton in America: and of Plumpton in England (1884) Publisher: Plimpton Mfg. Company 1884.
  • Miller, Alice Duer. A History of Barnard College: The First Fifty Years New York. Publisher: Columbia University Press (January 1, 1939).

Further reading

External links

A Fool and His Money (1989 film)

A Fool and His Money (originally titled, Religion, Inc.) is a 1989 American comedy film directed by Daniel Adams and written by Michael Mailer and Adams. The film stars Jonathan Penner, George Plimpton, Wendy Adams, Gerald Orange, Chuck Pfiefer and Sandra Bullock in her first leading role. The movie was released on September 24, 1989.

Brigid Hughes

Brigid Hughes is a Brooklyn, New York-based literary editor. Hughes is best-known for assuming the executive editor role at literary journal The Paris Review after the death of founding editor George Plimpton and for founding the literary magazine A Public Space in 2006.

Coney Island (1991 film)

Coney Island is a 1991 documentary film that traces the history of Coney Island, the westernmost part of the barrier islands of Long Island, New York. The film covers the island's 1609 discovery by Henry Hudson, its 1870s incarnation as a respectable beach destination for city-dwellers and showcase of the new developments ushered in by the machine age, the early 20th century, when amusement parks and innovative attractions attracted hundreds of thousands of people each day, and the gradual demise of the amusements.

The film is narrated by Philip Bosco. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and broadcast nationally on PBS as part of the American Experience program in February 1991.

On-camera appearances include Al Lewis, Vincent Gardenia, Eli Wallach, Elliot Willensky, Frederick Fried and Mae Timpano. Voice-over actors include Judd Hirsch, Nathan Lane, John Mahoney, Jerry Orbach, George Plimpton, Lois Smith, Frances Sternhagen and Andrei Codrescu.

Council of Literary Magazines and Presses

The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) is an American organization of independent literary publishers and magazines. It was founded in 1967 by Robie Macauley, Reed Whittemore (The Carleton Miscellany, The New Republic); Jules Chametzky (The Massachusetts Review); George Plimpton (The Paris Review); and William Phillips (The Partisan Review) as the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines (CCLM) at the suggestion of the National Endowment for the Arts, and renamed in 1989. As of 2009 it has about 350 members, half with a budget of less than $10,000.in 2000 CLMP Online was launched as an online resource providing technical assistance and information services for literary publishers and as an internet center for information about the field for readers, writers, media, and the general public.

Elizabeth Gaffney

Elizabeth Gaffney (born in New York City, December 22, 1966) is an American novelist. She graduated from Vassar College and holds an MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College. She is the editor at large of the quarterly magazine A Public Space and was a staff editor of The Paris Review for 16 years, under George Plimpton. She has translated four books from German. Her first book, Metropolis: A Novel, was published in 2005. Her second novel, When the World Was Young, was published in August 2014 by Random House.

Four Walls Eight Windows

Four Walls Eight Windows was an independent book publisher in New York City. Known as 4W8W or Four Walls, the company was notable for its dual commitment to progressive politics and adventurous, edgy literary fiction.

Among the more significant contemporary authors published by Four Walls were Steve Aylett, Ed Ayres, Michael Brodsky, Octavia Butler, Jerome Charyn, Andrei Codrescu, Richard Condon, Sue Coe, R. Crumb, Paul Di Filippo, Cory Doctorow, Andrea Dworkin, Brian Evenson, Annie Ernaux, Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, Margo Howard-Howard, Kathe Koja, Gordon Lish, Gary Lutz, Jim Munroe, Harvey Pekar, Tito Perdue, Rudy Rucker, John Ralston Saul, Lucius Shepard, Sasha Sokolov and Edward D. Wood, Jr. It also had a line of "modern classics," which included authors such as Nelson Algren, Sherwood Anderson, George Plimpton and Sloan Wilson.

George Arthur Plimpton

For his grandson, the author and journalist, see George Plimpton.George Arthur Plimpton (July 13, 1855 – July 1, 1936) was an American publisher and philanthropist.

Mark Degli Antoni

Mark Degli Antoni is an American composer, known for his work as keyboard and sampler player for the band Soul Coughing from 1992 to 2000. He was born on June 20, 1962.

Degli Antoni has a master's degree in music composition from the Mannes College of Music in New York City. In the early 1990s, he was a member of the composers' collective Rough Assemblage.

Since Soul Coughing, he has devoted his energy toward film scoring. His films include Cherish, Marie and Bruce, the HBO documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. and Into the Abyss by acclaimed director Werner Herzog. He produced the score for the 2017 Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone.

In 2013, Degli Antoni composed the score for the documentary feature Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself.

Mark has toured with Low, John Scofield and David Byrne on the Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno Tour.

Nick Eddy

Nicholas Matthew Eddy (born August 23, 1944) is a former American football player. He was raised in Tracy, California. A broad-shouldered 6 feet, 195 lbs, he attended the University of Notre Dame on a football scholarship. Eddy was a standout running back and kick returner. Eddy was an All-American halfback, leading Notre Dame to the 1966 national championship. He finished third to Steve Spurrier and Bob Griese in the 1966 Heisman Trophy balloting. The Detroit Lions drafted Eddy in the 1966 NFL Draft. Eddy played for the Lions from 1967 to 1972, although he was never a star. He was hampered by knee injuries.

Eddy appeared as himself in the George Plimpton movie, Paper Lion. Eddy and his spouse and family live in Modesto, California.

Eddy obtained a Mild Moderate Specialist teaching credential from Chapman University in Modesto in 2005. He currently teaches special education for Modesto City Schools. Eric C. Hansen devotes a chapter to Eddy in his book, Notre Dame: Where Have You Gone (2005).

Paper Lion

Paper Lion is a 1966 non-fiction book by American author George Plimpton.

In 1960, Plimpton, not an athlete, arranged to pitch to a lineup of professional baseball players in an All-Star exhibition, presumably to answer the question, "How would the average man off of the street fare in an attempt to compete with the stars of professional sports?" He chronicled this experience in his book, Out of My League.

To write Paper Lion, Plimpton repeated the experiment in the National Football League, joining the training camp of the 1963 Detroit Lions on the premise of trying out to be the team's third-string quarterback. Plimpton, then 36 years old, showed how unlikely it would be for an "average" person to succeed as a professional football player. The book is an expanded version of Plimpton's two-part series which appeared in back-to-back issues of Sports Illustrated in September 1964. The book's epilogue is also an expanded article from Sports Illustrated which appeared one year later.Plimpton had contacted several teams about his idea including his hometown New York Giants and New York Titans (an American Football League team that would change their name to the New York Jets) and Baltimore Colts. The Lions finally agreed to host Plimpton in their training camp. The coaches were aware of the deception but the players were not until it became apparent that Plimpton did not know how to receive the snap from center. Despite his struggles Plimpton convinced head coach George Wilson to let him take the first five snaps of the annual intra-squad scrimmage conducted in Pontiac, Michigan. Plimpton managed to lose yardage on each play.

Feeling confident he could do better, Plimpton hung around training camp one more week as the team prepared for its first pre-season game against the Cleveland Browns, being sure if the Lions had a big enough lead near the end of the game, Wilson would let him play. However, team officials informed Plimpton at halftime that NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle would not allow him to play under any circumstance. The next day Plimpton packed up and ended his experiment. Before he left, however, the Lions awarded him a gold football that was engraved: "To the best rookie football player in Detroit Lions history."The book is memorable as one of the first to showcase the personalities of the players and coaches and what happens off the field. Figuring prominently in the book are linebacker Wayne Walker, quarterback Milt Plum, future Hall of Famers cornerback Dick "Night Train" Lane and middle linebacker Joe Schmidt, and defensive tackle Alex Karras, among others. However, Karras's inclusion is exclusively through the stories about him told by teammates, coaches and other team personnel. Karras missed the 1963 season serving a suspension for gambling on football games.Prior to Paper Lion, Plimpton had pitched to major league baseball players and sparred with boxing great Archie Moore, but the success of this book, which was later adapted into a 1968 film starring Alan Alda as Plimpton, helped launch a kind of second career for Plimpton as an everyman athlete. Plimpton followed Paper Lion with books about golf and ice hockey, as well as two more football books.

In an interview with Tom Bean and Luke Poling, the filmmakers of the documentary, Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself, Joe Schmidt talked about how the team reacted to Plimpton's presence. "He tried to blend in with the rest of the team, but after a while you could just see that George wasn't much of an athlete. You don't have to be a Rhodes Scholar to figure that one out. You're in training camp and you're all pretty good football players, and George comes along, and he's sort of emaciated looking, you know he's not too physical of a specimen. And he couldn't throw the ball more than 15 yards."

Paper Lion (film)

Paper Lion is a 1968 sports comedy film starring Alan Alda as writer George Plimpton, based on Plimpton's 1966 nonfiction book of the same name depicting his tryout with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. The film premiered in Detroit on October 2, 1968, and was released nationwide the week of October 14, 1968.

Pierre Etchebaster

Pierre Etchebaster (8 December 1893 – 24 March 1980) was a French real tennis player who is widely considered history's greatest player of the game (in France jeu de paume), the original racquet sport from which the modern game of lawn tennis (which has usurped the name "tennis"), is descended.

Born in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France, a Basque fishing village, he served in the French Army during World War I before returning home to become the French champion in main nués, pala and chistera, all varieties of Basque pelota.

In 1922, Etchebaster was encouraged by tennis player Jacques Worth (a president of a Paris court club) to take up the game of real tennis. His first time on the court was during his audition to be the head professional of the club. After a few minutes of play, he was selected to fill the role. George Plimpton wrote that this was equivalent to "picking up a baseball bat in the morning and playing for the New York Yankees in the afternoon."

Despite losing his first challenge to Fred Covey in 1927, Etchebaster returned in his customary blue beret to win the world championship in London in 1928. He emigrated to New York City in 1930 to be a professional at the Racquet and Tennis Club. Etchebaster proceeded to dominate the sport. He was the world champion for a record-breaking 26 years (1928–1954) until his retirement at the age of 60. He defended the title seven times — a feat unmatched until 2006 when Robert Fahey made his seventh title defense (Fahey successfully defended his title eleven times).

He was an excellent athlete who would spend hours a day on court practising his many shots, and studying the spin effects the various surfaces of the court had on the ball. In 1955 he was awarded the Légion d'honneur for his achievements, and in 1978 he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

In 1971 after his retirement a book of his coaching advice, Pierre's Book, was published. It including accolades from many of the world's best players. He died in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

For many years shared his time between his summer position as a lawn tennis professional at Piping Rock Club, Locust Valley, NY and his role as head professional at the Racquet and Tennis Club on Park Avenue in New York. Each spring he would spend a month in Aiken, South Carolina, the site of one of the nine real tennis courts in the United States, where he would give lessons and play exhibitions.

The Racquet and Tennis Club made a video in 1954 featuring Etchebaster, Ogden Phipps, Francis X. Shields, and Alastair B. Martin, playing singles and doubles. Hayward Hale Broun appears in it, sporting a CBS microphone.

Pierre's Book (Barre Publishers, Barre MA 1971) was edited and introduced by George Plimpton.

Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself

Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself is a 2013 American documentary film directed by Tom Bean and Luke Poling about the writer George Plimpton, who was a co-founder of The Paris Review and contributor to the participatory journalism genre.

Sidd Finch

Sidd Finch is a fictional baseball player, the subject of the notorious April Fools' Day hoax article "The Curious Case of Sidd Finch" written by George Plimpton and first published in the April 1, 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated. According to Plimpton, Finch was raised in an English orphanage, learned yoga in Tibet, and could throw a fastball as fast as 168 miles per hour (270 km/h).

Stop Smiling

Stop Smiling was an arts and culture magazine founded by J. C. Gabel in the Chicago suburb of Darien, Illinois. He started the magazine at age 19 in 1995. The magazine was published on a bimonthly basis. The headquarters was in both Chicago and New York. Each issue followed a theme and consisted of feature-length interviews, essays and oral histories. With a focus on preservation, Stop Smiling published some of the last in-depth conversations with Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Altman, Lee Hazlewood and George Plimpton. The company ended the magazine in 2009 and became an independently owned imprint of Melville House Publishing.Stop Smiling runs a storefront event space in Wicker Park, Chicago. Readings and Q&As are regularly broadcast on Chicago Public Radio.

The Donner Party (1992 film)

The Donner Party is a 1992 documentary film that traces the history of the Donner Party, an ill-fated pioneer group that trekked from Springfield, Illinois to Sutter's Fort, California - a disastrous journey of 2500 miles made famous by the tales of cannibalism the survivors told upon reaching their destination. The film, narrated by David McCullough, premiered at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival in May 1992 with an introductory lecture on the Donner Party by noted Western historian David Lavender. It subsequently aired on PBS as part of the American Experience program in October, 1992.

The film was produced using a combination of archival materials, including letters, photographs, paintings, and diaries from members of the Donner Party, as well as new footage shot of the trail the Party journeyed along in Oregon and California. Animated maps are used to show the route the Donner Party took. On-camera experts include Harold Schindler, Joseph King, Donald Buck, and Wallace Stegner. Timothy Hutton, Amy Madigan, Frances Sternhagen, George Plimpton, Lois Smith, and Eli Wallach perform the letters and diaries written by the Donner Party before, during, and after their journey.

The Paris Review

The Paris Review is a quarterly English language literary magazine established in Paris in 1953 by Harold L. Humes, Peter Matthiessen, and George Plimpton. In its first five years, The Paris Review published works by Jack Kerouac, Philip Larkin, V. S. Naipaul, Philip Roth, Terry Southern, Adrienne Rich, Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett, Nadine Gordimer, Jean Genet, and Robert Bly.

The Review's "Writers at Work" series includes interviews with Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Thornton Wilder, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, William Carlos Williams, and Vladimir Nabokov, among many hundreds of others. Literary critic Joe David Bellamy called the series "one of the single most persistent acts of cultural conservation in the history of the world."The headquarters of The Paris Review moved from Paris to New York City in 1973. Plimpton edited the Review from its founding until his death in 2003. Brigid Hughes took over as "executive editor" (she declined to use the title "editor" out of respect for Plimpton) from 2003 to 2005. She was followed by Philip Gourevitch from 2005 to 2010, Lorin Stein from 2010 to 2017, and Emily Nemens since April 2018.

Tom Mitchell (American football)

Thomas Gordon ("Tom") Mitchell (August 22, 1944 – July 16, 2017) was a college and professional American football player. A 6'2", 219 lb (99 kg). tight end from Bucknell University, Mitchell played one season (1966) for the American Football League's Oakland Raiders, and ten seasons (1968–1977) in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts and the San Francisco 49ers. He was nicknamed "The Crocodile" and his pouring a pitcher of beer on the head of author George Plimpton is recounted in the book Mad Ducks and Bears. He died of cancer at the age of 72 in 2017.

When We Were Kings

When We Were Kings is a 1996 Oscar-winning documentary film directed by Leon Gast about the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight championship match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The fight was held in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) on October 30, 1974.

The film features a number of celebrities, including James Brown, Jim Brown, B.B. King, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, Spike Lee and Thomas Hauser.

When We Were Kings was released in 1996 to strong reviews, and won the 1996 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.It took Gast 22 years to edit and finance the documentary before it was finally released.

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