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This just in… Studs Terkel dies

Friday, Oct 31, 2008

* 3:47 pm - The Tribune is reporting that Chicago icon Studs Terkel has died.

Check out Aaron Chambers’ interview of Studs here and Christine Newman’s interview here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


20 Comments
  1. - Rep. John Fritchey - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 3:51 pm:

    The times are few and far between these days that you can call a Chicagoan a legend and mean it in a positive way, but Studs Terkel is a great example of a case where you clearly can.


  2. - SweetLou - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 3:57 pm:

    One of the great joys of my life was being able to meet Studs Turkel when i was 13 years old at the Chicago Historical Society, and i’m so happy that i actually knew who he was and what he meant to this city. This City misses him already.


  3. - Heartache! - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 4:06 pm:

    What a great human being he was, under those big red suspenders. I’m so glad he made it to 96–wish he’d made it to 106. Remember: “Curiosity didn’t kill this cat.”


  4. - Levois - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 4:07 pm:

    I was at a Border’s store in Beverly and he was there. This was maybe two or three years ago. And I think there were other opportunities to pay the old man a visit. Now I never will, but I will have time to peruse his work that I never got to know.


  5. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 4:13 pm:

    Wow! He was human? He did so many things for so many years, and holds such a remarkable record of accomplishments that I just didn’t think he would ever wear out.


  6. - Jak Tichenor - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 4:17 pm:

    I had the great good fortune of interviewing Studs at his home a few years ago when he was honored by the Lincoln Academy and I’ll never forget his great personal warmth and wonderful sense of humor. He was wearing his trademark checkered shirt and smoking a cigar as he sat in a rocking chair beneath a picture of his friend, the late poet Gwendolyn Brooks. He was very generous with his time but mentioned several times that he needed to get back upstairs to his office to continue working on his latest book at the time “And They All Sang, the Adventures of Eclectic Disk Jockey.” I asked him about his deadline for finishing it and he just sat back and laughed and said, “Deadline? Kid, I’m 92-years old. I’M the deadline!” He was a true American orginal and a class act all the way.


  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 4:19 pm:

    Division Street: America was one of those books that changed my life. I had numerous opportunities to meet him and missed them all. I’ll regret that for the rest of my life.

    He stomped on the terra, man.


  8. - Ahem - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 4:48 pm:

    Bummer. What a sweet guy.


  9. - southsider - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:02 pm:

    I get out my copy of Hope Dies Last every time I am beginning to lose faith, it always reminds me that people are good at their core.


  10. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:05 pm:

    I’m sure he’s got his tape recorder going and has some questions he’s been meaning to ask St. Peter about admission standards. And I imagine Charlie Nicodemus is curious as to who got the contract for the Pearly Gates.

    When I was a young man, my crew of drunken aspiring writers would always end up at the Goat or Riccardos just to see who was hanging out. Invariably, Royko was, but he was unapproachable, unless you were a pretty girl, and he wasn’t in a dark mood.

    On occasion, you’d see Studs enjoying a martini and cigar, looking and talking like somebody out of Runyon.

    Very friendly, Studs would sometimes chat up a member of our crew, and give his opinion on the question of the day. Over the years, I’d see him pick up a cigar in the tobacco shop at the Wirtz building at Wacker and Michigan.

    I’m covering the trick-or-treating right now, but after my little one goes to bed, maybe I’ll wander down to the Goat and see who’s hanging around. My guess is Kogan will be there telling stories.

    For you budding historians, the Chicago History Museum is in the midst of archiving 40 some years of WFMT interviews by Studs.


  11. - Skeeter - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:07 pm:

    The living room of the house where I grew up had all his books. My parents were huge fans and made sure that I read his work. “Working” and “Division Street America” had a clear and undeniable impact on me.
    He will be missed.


  12. - Gregor - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:07 pm:

    As much as anyone, he was the Spirit of Chicago, the embodiment of it’s tough but expansive heart. Truly the end of an era and no one in sight to take the mantle. Glad that he captured so much of the city and the state in his books and interviews. I hope to do a tenth of what he did in his life before I go.


  13. - Tony - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 5:38 pm:

    Met him last year at Indelible Ink, a salute to Mike Royko on the 10th anniversary of Royko’s death. Only saw him and spoke to him for a couple seconds, but it was like standing in front of Bill Shakespeare or Twain or Kerouac. He signed my book. It was awesome. He was awesome. Never will see the likes of him again. Ever.


  14. - IrishPirate - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 7:01 pm:

    I recall an interview where Studs said “there was the glory”.

    Not a bad epitaph for the man himself.

    He chronicled average folks living average lives. He wrote about “Joe the Plumber” before anyone else and his Joes were invariably more interesting.


  15. - Some Guy - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 7:56 pm:

    He once said that he wanted his tombstone to read: “Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat.”

    He’ll be missed.


  16. - Disgusted - Friday, Oct 31, 08 @ 9:27 pm:

    I hope he gets the job up there of making Royko laugh. What a terrific pair of minds and talent.


  17. - Captain America - Saturday, Nov 1, 08 @ 10:28 am:

    I’m in Cedar Rapids to help nail down Obama’s landlside victory - just read about ST’s death this morning. NY Times hard copy realy did I nice obituary - I didn’t realize that our local legend was so renowned nationally.


  18. - ben - Saturday, Nov 1, 08 @ 9:46 pm:

    He thought I was a cute baby. I don’t remember him telling me so, but it’s a testament to how awesome he was. He will be missed.


  19. - nicole edwards - Sunday, Nov 2, 08 @ 8:10 pm:

    The book Working changed me in such a positive way. I was working for AFSCME, organizing in Las Cruces, NM, and my boss gave me the book. It is a book that will forever have an impact on my life, and I wish tht I could of met him.
    Rest in Peace


  20. - JonShibleyFan - Sunday, Nov 2, 08 @ 11:14 pm:

    I am glad I took the opportunity to hear him speak in person at the Historical Society and Priner’s Row Book Fair in recent years.

    Studs closed his radio broadcast with the line “Take it easy, but take it.”

    I regret his passing. But he’ll live forever in his great talent.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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