Valenti Passes

Jack Valenti, my friend and sometime-adversary, has passed away. He was 85. Here's the Times’ lovely obituary by my colleague David Halbfinger. We made peace, finally, despite his being ever-peeved at a magazine story I wrote about him many years ago. The magazine, George, no longer exists. (But it was a very fun article, I […]

Valenti1 Jack Valenti, my friend and sometime-adversary, has passed away. He was 85. Here's the Times’ lovely obituary by my colleague David Halbfinger. We made peace, finally, despite his being ever-peeved at a magazine story I wrote about him many years ago. The magazine, George, no longer exists. (But it was a very fun article, I must say, opening with a visit to Valenti's hairdresser, where the white-haired octogenarian was having his hair burned, yes, burned.) But he had a long memory; what irked him most of all was the suggestion that he might be less than immortal. He hated that I wrote in the Washington Post that he had collapsed at a dinner party in Paris, a number of years back. He ultimately softened. Still, I keep as a cherished memento on the wall of my office a hilarious letter he wrote me in which he denied ever calling me a "bitch" in print, which Lloyd Grove claimed in the pages of the New York Daily News in 2004. "It's a crude, soiling word," he wrote, "and anti-female. I do not use it." Rest in peace, Jack.