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Elizabeth Taylor Outlived One Of Her Obituary Writers

Mar 23, 2011

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Every newsroom prepares "advance obits" for world leaders, celebrities, sports stars and other famous folks.

And sometimes the subject lives on for years after the first draft of his or his obituary is already "in the can."

Today, when the news broke that actress Elizabeth Taylor had died, The New York Times was among the many news outlets (including NPR) that were quick to post an obituary that had obviously been prepared well in advance. But the Times added this interesting note to its piece:

"Mel Gussow, the principal writer of this article, died in 2005. William McDonald and the Associated Press contributed updated reporting."

And who was Gussow? Well, here's his New York Times obit. He was, the newspaper wrote, a "longtime critic and cultural reporter for The New York Times who championed the work of many of the major playwrights of the post World War II period, including Harold Pinter, Edward Albee and Tom Stoppard."

He wrote "more than 4,000 reviews and articles for The Times over 35 years at the newspaper, helped discover Kevin Kline's talents when Mr. Kline was still a student, as well as those of Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep."

And today, in a somewhat ironic way, his work lived on.

(H/T Andy Greene)

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