September 5, 2012
In Memoriam: Two Much Beloved Mentors
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve lost two people who played significant roles in shaping my life. So I’m taking time out from my usual posts to pay honor to their memories.
Remy Charlip taught me theater in college. He was an enchanting man and an artistic polymath who was a founding member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, a co-founder of the Paper Bag Players children’s theater troupe, a painter, a children’s book author (my favorite was “Arm in Arm” about two octopuses who got married and “walked down the aisle arm in arm in arm in arm in arm”) and he was an inspiring teacher who started the Children’s Theater department at my alma mater Sarah Lawrence and ushered all of us in that first group of students into the realm of the imagination that, blessedly, we’ve never totally abandoned. Remy was 83 when he died on Aug. 14 (click here to read his obituary and here to see a clip in which he talks about his life and performs).
John Stacks wasn’t a man of the theater but he was a grand champion of my career in journalism. John spent most of his working years at Time Magazine, where he made his name as the magazine’s point man on the Watergate scandal and later rose through the ranks to become New York bureau chief, chief of correspondents overseeing some 100 reporters around the world and eventually deputy managing editor. He had a true zest for life and thoroughly enjoyed good food (which he loved to cook as much as he loved to eat), good wine, fine cigars, nicely-made suits and a friendly round of golf. He was curious about the world and enthusiastically poked around every corner of it. He cared deeply about his friends and the people who worked for him and often went out of his way to help us. And he had an infectious laugh. John was just 70 when he died yesterday. No official obituaries have yet been published but they will come once the initial shock has eased for those of us who so cherished him.
I feel blessed to have known them both.