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Clive James
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Critic
    (October 7, 1939-November 24, 2019)
    Born in Kogarah, New South Wales, Australia
    Birth name was Vivian Leopold James
    Critic, author, poet, and broadcaster
    Television critic for ‘The Observer’ (1972-82)
    Contributed literary criticism to The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Review of Books, and the Times Literary Supplement
    Hosted ‘Clive James on Television’ (1982-88, 1997-98) and ‘Saturday Night Clive’ (1988-90)
    Published his translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy (2013)
    Named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (2012) and an Officer of the Order of Australia (2013)
    At The Observer, he irritated other journalists by laughing at the jokes in his column as he wrote it.
    He said he wished C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien had strangled each other, thereby ‘saving the world’ from both the Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia.
    He smoked over 80 cigarettes a day and had an a hubcap made into an ashtray so he would only have to empty it once a day.
    His wife of 40+ years threw him out of their home after a tabloid television program exposed his eight-year long affair with a model (2012).
    He wrote five volumes of autobiography.
    His father survived a Japanese prisoner of war camp in World War II only to die when the plane returning him to Australia crashed into Manila Bay.
    In college, he was president of the Cambridge Footlights.
    His IQ was tested at 140.
    Fellow critic Mark Lawson described his writing as ‘so funny it was dangerous to read while holding a hot drink.’
    He famously wrote that Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Pumping Iron’ looked like ‘a brown condom full of walnuts.’
    A lifelong atheist, he called religion ‘an advertising agency for a product that does not exist.’

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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