|Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 06:18 pm: |
A friend of mine died of cancer Monday in New York. Jack Newfield wrote a column for the New York Post until forced out by Rupert Murdoch a couple of years ago and was one of the most respected journalists in New York. Among his other accomplisments, he was a speechwriter for Bobby Kennedy, was the author of a number of books, including Only In America, an expose of Don King, which was made into a film by HBO, and an editor. Saturday night was boxing night at Jack's house, a kind of salon for boxing afficionados.
Over the course of the year I met and got to know as boxing fans and friends Jon Cuzak, Hellen Mirren, Taylor Hackford,, Cecil Taylor, Matt Shipp, Sonny Franchese the mafia boss, Teddy Atlas, ex-heavyweight champ Tim Witherspoon, politicians, waiters, doctors, artists, too many writers to mention, journalists, boxing promoters like Don Elbaum, barbers, bartenders, boxers....sometimes it seemed that an entire cross-section of New York was jammed into Newfield's living room. He was for all his life an influential spokesman for liberal causes, and as such will be missed. Most of all, he was a great guy amd a good friend.
|Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 08:02 am: |
Newfield was one of the real truth-tellers in a sport badly in need of them. He always told it like it was. His passing creates a serious vacuum in boxing journalism.
|Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 09:19 am: |
That's terrible. My condolences to anyone touched by the man's passing. Boxing needs all the help it can get, and he always sounded like one of the good guys.
|Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 03:10 pm: |
I'm sorry, Lucius.
|Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 05:27 pm: |
My condolences. Never met the man but used to read him in the Voice religiously. I'm sure you've seen the Breslin reminiscence but for those who haven't, it's at http://www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-nybres224093568dec22,0,7391539.column.
|Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 07:55 pm: |
I'm sorry you lost a friend.
|Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 09:27 pm: |
Also sorry, Lucius. He sounded like a great guy.
|Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 10:17 pm: |
Thanks for all your expressions of condolence. Jack was, indeed, one of the good guys. He loved boxing and boxing loved hm back. When he went into the hospital, Carmen Basilio gave him the robe he wore the night he beat Sugar Ray Robinson. It didn't fit Jack, but he figured it was a pretty good charm to have with him in the hospital. But the charm didn't work.. I know most here don't care about boxing, but boxing's a curious fraternity, and Jack's Saturday salons where boundaries of wealth and fame were washed away....We were all just boxing fans, and it couldn't have taken place anywhere else, because there was no one around with Jack's gentle particularity who could serve as its center. His wife, Jane, used to lay out a spread and all the fighters in attendance made for the food straightaway, I remember Muhammad Ali standing by the dining room table, picking over the cold cuts with a group of second raters, I remember the mafioso Sonny Franchese occupying the same sofa as the commissioner of the committee investigating police corruption, I remember so many stories....It's sad that there's no place for the stories to happen anymore, but I guess that's the way things end, the way life ends, ungracefully, with nowhere to happen, nowhere to go....
|Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 12:14 am: |
But the memories live on, Lucius, in you, and in all the others touched by Jack. Not just in those lucky folks who enjoyed Jack & Jane's hospitality, but also those who were touched by his writing.
And from those of us who've enjoyed the glimpses into Jack's boxing salons right here on your Nightshade threads, thanks for offering us a taste of your friend's generous life. We're all richer for it.
|Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 07:55 am: |
Lucius: Driving into work early this morning to put my grades in, I was listening to WBAI. They announced that there was going to be a show on Monday morning, I think beginning at either 8:00 or 8:30 on which they would be discussing Newfield's life with interviews with a number of his associates in the boxing world -- one of the boxers is Hector (don't know if I have this first name right) Torres. You probably know these guys. I think you can get BAI on streaming audio through the computer. Thought this might be something you'd like to hear.
|Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 08:52 am: |
|Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 11:25 am: |
I'm so sorry about Jack. Death is always overwhelmingly sad. Always a kick in the teeth, even when you know it's right around the corner. When my beloved cat Faust died this past October I was there when they gave him the shot, looking straight into his eyes, murmuring it would be all right. His dying image, like so many others, haunts me.
But I think Minz is right about memories: remembrance keeps the flame burning. A friend like you who appreciates Jack's passionate mystery is bound to fire many spirits to do the same. And each person's thought contributes to keeping Jack's memory alive. The depth of affection you expressed about your times together confirms a bold and beautiful kinship. One that can never be truly extinguished.
|Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 12:00 pm: |
What an interesting man--interesting and important life. My condolences.
|Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 08:27 pm: |
Hey, Lucius --
Very, very sorry to hear of Jack's passing and very sorry for the loss for you as well. Loved the anecdotes you laid out here for the rest of us. What a class act Jack must have been.
Hang in there, man.
|Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 07:00 am: |
Sorry for your loss, Lucius. Jack sounds like a good guy.
|Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 07:05 am: |
Thanks John, Josh, T, Bronwyn....He was all that.