Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Updike, Author, Dies at 76

John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize winning author and novelist, has died. He was 76. Updike won numerous literary awards, including two Pulitzers, for Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest, and two National Book Awards. One of his better known novels is The Witches of Eastwick, which was turned into a film. The obit in today's New York Times described him this way:  "A literary writer who frequently appeared on best-seller lists, the tall, hawk-nosed Updike wrote novels, short stories, poems, criticism, the memoir Self-Consciousness and even a famous essay about baseball great Ted Williams. He was prolific, even compulsive, releasing more than 50 books in a career that started in the 1950s." 

Back in 1982 in the New Yorker, Updike favorably reviewed Louise Brooks'  Lulu in Hollywood, which had just been released. Years later, at a booksigning, I asked Updike about the actress and her memoir. He paused, and then declared Brooks the finest actor turned writer. That, I thought, was high praise from someone so accomplished.

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