Monday, March 16, 2009

Ben Stein on Jim Bellows

In Memoriam

Jim Bellows, RIP

Here I am with my wife at a memorial for my dear friend and colleague, Jim Bellows, at the Westwood Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. Jim died about a week ago of Alzheimer's at 86. He was a sprightly, lively, imaginative, courageous fellow, and I knew he was ill, but I did not know how close to the end he was. Naturally, I am sitting here crying my eyes out, racked with sobs, and I mean uncontrollable shivering sobs.

Jim was a friend. Not just a good friend, but a great friend. The world knows him as the last editor of the New York Herald Tribune, the Washington Star (well, not quite the last, but close to the last), the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, also not quite the last, the man who put Entertainment Weekly on the map and kept it there for decades, big power at Prodigy, author and raconteur, ace golfer and wit.

Again, to me, Jim was primarily a friend. He hired me to write a guest column at the Herald Examiner for four weeks and I stayed for nine years.

Towards the end of his life, when his disease was eating him up little by little and in fits and starts, I was nowhere near as good a friend to him as I should have been. It was hard for me to deal with having conversations with him and then having the same conversation a few hours later or days later and then getting a call asking to have the same conversation again. That was stupid and unfeeling of me. My day will come, too.

And as I thought, in between sobs, of Jim and his 32 years of kindness to me, I thought that I would mentally compose a letter to him of what I so much wish I had said to him when he was alive.

"Jim, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. [Click for MORE]

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: