David Rakoff's Editor Remembers a "Brilliant Raconteur"
David Rakoff, an author, essayist, humorist, actor, and contributor to This American Life, died Thursday night at his home in New York. Rakoff won a James Thurber Prize for American Humor last year for his essay collection, Half Empty.
In a statement, his longtime editor Bill Thomas praised "our dear friend and beloved author."
"The world is a little less kind and a little less beautiful today," said Thomas, Senior VP, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of Doubleday.
"There were hundreds of reasons to love David. He was of course incredibly charming, witty and learned, a brilliant raconteur with the quickest mind imaginable, but most of all he was a generous soul. Though his life was cut infuriatingly short, it was rich beyond measure."
A self-described gay Jewish Canadian transplant to New York City, Rakoff wrote hundreds of humorous essays for The New York Times, GQ, Details, Salon, Slate and other publications. Over the years Thomas encouraged other writers to read Rakoff's essay “Lush Life” (from Fraud) and “The Satisfying Crunch of Dreams Underfoot” (from Half Empty), both of them comical portrayals of publishing culture. Many of Rakoff's essays were collected in Half Empty and two previous bestselling books, Fraud and Don't Get Too Comfortable.
Shortly before his death, Rakoff delivered a new novel entitled Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish. Doubleday plans to publish it posthumously in 2013.
In addition to his writing, Rackoff was a stage and screen actor, a playwright, a screenwriter. A short film for which he adapted the screenplay and starred in, “The New Tenants,” won an Academy Award. He was also a radio essayist for This American Life, and an accomplished visual artist.
On YouTube, Rakoff co-created a book tour mockumentary: “David Rakoff and Dave Hill Go On a Book Tour.”
>Here's a wonderful 2010 interview between Amazon editor Tom Nissley and Rakoff, discussing Half Empty, the beauty of melancholy, and embracing the darkness.