By: E&P Staff
Jerry Zezima paid tribute to Art Buchwald today in his Stamford (Conn.) Advocate column.
In his “Good Humor Man” piece, Zezima wrote: “Art Buchwald was the reason I became a writer. But please don’t blame him. Fault for the many journalistic crimes I have committed over the past 31 years is entirely mine.
“There have been many positive influences in my life, but only two men have really been heroes to me. My father … is my personal hero. Buchwald, who died recently at 81, was my professional hero.”
Zezima, whose column is distributed by the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, went on to note that he finally worked up the nerve to write Buchwald in 2002 — “telling him that he was why I got into journalism and thanking him for the fact that I was in a field that not only didn’t require me to do any real work, but which paid so little money that it actually simplified my tax returns. To my great surprise and delight, he wrote back. It was a nice, cheery, funny letter.”
Buchwald (who was syndicated by Tribune Media Services) and Zezima continued to exchange letters and phone calls over the next five years.
Zezima also recalled that he wrote a rare political column in 2005 and sent it to Buchwald. The political humorist replied: “Dear Jerry, Thank you so much for sending me the article. I enjoyed it very much, and if you write any more political ones, I’ll have one of my guys break your legs. Cheers, Art Buchwald.”
The Advocate columnist concluded that Buchwald “was one of the most influential newspaper columnists of the past half-century and one of the greatest humorists in the history of American journalism. He also was a good guy. …”
For Zezima’s complete Buchwald column, click here.