Clifton Fadiman bigraphy, stories - Literary

Clifton Fadiman : biography

May 15, 1904 - June 20, 1999

Clifton P. "Kip" Fadiman (May 15, 1904 – June 20, 1999) was an American intellectual, author, editor, radio and television personality.


Personal life

Fadiman's first marriage was in 1927 to Pauline Elizabeth Rush, with whom he had a son, Jonathan Rush. They divorced in 1949. His second marriage was in 1950 to Annalee Jacoby (Annalee Whitmore Jacoby), aka Annalee Fadiman, an author, screenwriter for MGM and World War II foreign correspondent for Time and Life. A widow, she later used the name Annalee Jacoby Fadiman.

 She co-authored Thunder Out of China  with Theodore H. White (1946). Clifton and Annalee had a son, Kim Fadiman, and a daughter, writer Anne Fadiman. On 5 February 2002, Annalee committed suicide in Captiva, Florida, aged 85, after a long battle with breast cancer and Parkinson's disease. 

Fadiman lost his eyesight when he was in his early 90s but continued to review manuscripts for the Book of the Month Club by listening to tapes of books recorded by his son Kim, after which Fadiman would dictate his impressions to his secretary.


Fadiman died on June 20, 1999, of pancreatic cancer in Sanibel, Florida, at the age of 95. In the year of his death, Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan came back into print as The New Lifetime Reading Plan.

In its obituary, the New York Times called Fadiman an "essayist, critic, editor and indefatigable anthologist whose encyclopedic knowledge made him a mainstay of Information Please and other popular radio programs in the late 1930's, 40's and 50's" and noted that he "also helped establish the Book-of-the-Month Club and served on its editorial board for more than 50 years."


After graduation from Columbia, Fadiman taught English at the Ethical Culture High School (now known as the "Fieldston School") in the Bronx from 1925 to 1927.


Fadiman worked ten years for Simon & Schuster, ending as its chief editor. There he started the translation career of Whittaker Chambers by having him translate Bambi from German: My college friend, Clifton Fadiman, was then [circa 1927–1928] a reader at Simon and Schuster, the New York book publishers. He offered to let me try my hand at translating a little German book. It was about a deer named Bambi and was written by an Austrian, of whom I had never heard, named Felix Salten... Bambi was an instant success, and I suddenly found myself an established translator.

Fadiman then took charge of The New Yorker's book review section, 1933–1943.

He became emcee for the National Book Award ceremonies in 1938 and 1939, at least, and again when those literary awards by the American book industry were re-inaugurated in 1950.

 (The awards were inaugurated May 1936, conferred annually through 1942 [publication years 1935 to 1941], and re-inaugurated March 1950 [publication year 1949].) 

Fadiman became a judge for the Book of the Month Club in 1944.

In the 1970s he was also senior editor of Cricket Magazine, where he wrote the book review column for children, "Cricket's Bookshelf".


While still at the New Yorker, Fadiman became well-known on radio, where he hosted its most popular quiz show, Information, Please! from May 1938 to June 1948. A regular trio of pundits—Franklin P. Adams, John Kieran and Oscar Levant—plus one guest expert conducted each session with erudite charm and good-natured wordplay under Fadiman's nimble control. (Guest John Gunther's mention of the then-current Iranian potentate prompted Fadiman to ask, "Are you shah?," to which Gunther quipped, "Sultanly.")


In 1952, Information Please! was briefly revived for CBS Television as a 13-week summer replacement for the musical variety program The Fred Waring Show. During that June–September period, devoted fans of the departed radio program could finally not only hear, but also see Fadiman, Adams, and Kieran in action.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine