Jimmy Breslin, a Larger-Than-Life Newspaper Columnist
Nearing deadline, Jimmy Breslin answers his phone, shouts, “In a few minutes,” and slams down the phone. Every sentence, except the lead, is rewritten at least once. Two hours later he’s done, but still fiddling with the piece, reading off the screen, working on a sentence: In the morning, the difference between throwing dice against a garage wall on Southern Blvd. and the game scheduled to go on in the courtroom was that there were only supposed to be two players. His wife calls to remind him that 90 people are coming to the apartment in two hours for a wedding.
Exhausted, he’s got to have a walk, or maybe a swim, to come down. Since 6:30 this morning, lying in bed with a telephone, three newspapers and a thermos of coffee, Breslin, 58, has been working. It’s now 3:00 p.m. and he’s still not satisfied. He finally won the Pulitzer last year, but it’s been like this for almost 25 years, three columns a week, writing the central stories of his city, which are, in no particular order, the amazing thievery of the powers-that-be, the forgotten and despised poor and the fast, fierce humor of New York neighborhoods. Week after week, the life of noisy desperation.
Breslin passed away this month. Original text from “That’s the Whole Thing” by Ambrose Clancy for GQ, 1986; Photo via New York Daily News Archive/Getty
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