Was there anything George Plimpton couldn’t do?
Plimpton served as a role model for other writers and editors, but he was also admired by athletes, actors and artists. He died 10 years ago, and I can’t help but wonder what he’d think of the current state of journalism.
A new documentary, “Plimpton!”, profiles the former Paris Review editor and journalist. Known for completely immersing himself in his subjects, Plimpton wasn’t afraid to step into a boxing ring or train with the Detroit Lions for a story. As an editor, he published work by some of the greatest writers of the 21st century, including Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth and Samuel Beckett.
The movie includes commentary from Ken Burns, Gay Talese, Robert Kennedy Jr., Hugh Hefner, Plimpton’s family members and others.
The doc is currently screening in New York and California and spreads to more cities Friday. If you want to do a little prep work before you see it, I recommend sifting through the stunning Paris Review archives (www.theparisreview.org/back-issues) which contain gems like, say, this interview with Norman Mailer (www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4503/the-art-of-fiction-no-32-norman-mailer) from 1964. Plimpton also edited the excellent Edie Sedgwick biography, Edie: American Girl.
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