Take It Easy But Take It
Studs Terkel, radio actor, activist, speech writer, journalist, author, Chicagoan, has died at 96:
A television institution for years, a radio staple for decades, a literary lion since 1967, when he wrote his first best-selling book at the age of 55, Louis Terkel was born in New York City on May 16, 1912. “I came up the year the Titanic went down,” he would often say.
“Remember those old Ivory soap commercials, ‘Ivory Soap, 99.44 percent pure?’ Well I am 99.44 percent dead,” he said, sitting in the sun-soaked living room of his house. The place was, as always, a wonderful mess of papers, tapes, books, letters, photos and visitors that so pleasantly cluttered his life.
“The most fun I’ve ever had doing a story was interviewing Studs in that living room,” says WMAQ and WTTW television anchor/reporter Carol Marin. “He was unique.”
He was in that living room last year when he said with zest that when he “checked out”– as a “hotel kid” he rarely used the word “dying,” preferring the euphemism “checking out” and its variants–he wanted to be cremated. He wanted his ashes mixed with those of his wife, which sat in an urn in the living room of his house, near the bed in which he slept and dreamed.
“My epitaph? My epitaph will be ‘Curiosity did not kill this cat,'” he said.
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