Clifton Fadiman
Clifton P. "Kip" Fadiman (May 15, 1904 - June 20, 1999) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 intellectual, author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

, editor
The term editor may refer to:As a person who does editing:* Editor in chief, having final responsibility for a publication's operations and policies* Copy editing, making formatting changes and other improvements to text...

, radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 and television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...


Literary career

Fadiman grew up in Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

 and was a nephew of the child prodigy
Child prodigy
A child prodigy is someone who, at an early age, masters one or more skills far beyond his or her level of maturity. One criterion for classifying prodigies is: a prodigy is a child, typically younger than 18 years old, who is performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding...

 William James Sidis
William James Sidis
William James Sidis was an American child prodigy with exceptional mathematical and linguistic abilities. His IQ was estimated to be between 250 and 300 - one of the highest ever recorded - he entered Harvard early at age 11, and as an adult was conversant in over 40 languages and dialects...

, and a grandson of the famed Russian psychologist Boris Sidis
Boris Sidis
Boris Sidis, Ph.D., M.D. was a Ukrainian Jewish psychologist, physician, psychiatrist, and philosopher of education. Sidis founded the New York State Psychopathic Institute and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. He was the father of the child prodigy William James Sidis...

. His mother Grace's maiden name was Mendelbaum. His father, Isadore, immigrated from Russia in 1892 and worked as a druggist. A graduate of Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, he worked for Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster, Inc., a division of CBS Corporation, is a publisher founded in New York City in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. It is one of the four largest English-language publishers, alongside Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins...

 for ten years, ending as its chief editor. He spent another ten years (1933–1943) in charge of The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

book review section and in 1944 became a judge for the Book of the Month Club
Book of the Month Club
The Book of the Month Club is a United States mail-order book sales club that offers a new book each month to customers.The Book of the Month Club is part of a larger company that runs many book clubs in the United States and Canada. It was formerly the flagship club of Book-of-the-Month Club, Inc...

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

His witticisms and sayings were frequently printed in newspapers and magazines. "When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before, you see more in you than there was before", was one of the better known. Of Stendhal
Marie-Henri Beyle , better known by his pen name Stendhal, was a 19th-century French writer. Known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology, he is considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism in his two novels Le Rouge et le Noir and La Chartreuse de Parme...

, Fadiman wrote, "He has no grace, little charm, less humor... [and] is not really a good storyteller..."

Books by Clifton Fadiman

  • Reading I've Liked: Presented with an Informal Prologue and Various Commentaries (1941, British edition 1946)
  • Party of One (1955)
  • The American Treasury 1455-1955 (1955, ed.)
  • Any Number Can Play (1957)
  • Fantasia Mathematica
    Fantasia Mathematica
    Fantasia Mathematica is an anthology published in 1958 containing stories, humor, poems, etc., all on mathematical topics, compiled by Clifton Fadiman. A companion volume was published as The Mathematical Magpie . The volume contains writing by authors including Robert Heinlein, Aldous Huxley, H. G...

    (1958, ed.)
  • Lifetime Reading Plan (1960, co-author)
  • Enter, Conversing (1962)
  • The Mathematical Magpie
    The Mathematical Magpie
    The Mathematical Magpie is an anthology published in 1962, compiled by Clifton Fadiman as a companion volume to his Fantasia Mathematica . The volume contains stories, cartoons, essays, rhymes, music, anecdotes, aphorisms, and other oddments. Authors include Arthur Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Mark Twain,...

    (1962, ed.)
  • Wally the Wordworm (1964)
  • The World Treasury of Children's Literature (1984, ed.)
  • The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes (1985, ed.)
  • The World of the Short Story: A 20th Century Collection (1986, ed.)
  • Treasury of the Encyclopædia Britannica
    Encyclopædia Britannica
    The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

    (1992, ed.)
  • Foreword in Famous Last Words

Radio and television career

Fadiman was already well-known from radio, where he hosted its most popular quiz show
Quiz Show
Quiz Show is a 1994 American historical drama film produced and directed by Robert Redford. Adapted by Paul Attanasio from Richard Goodwin's memoir Remembering America, the film is based upon the Twenty One quiz show scandal of the 1950s...

, Information, Please! from May 1938 to June 1948. A trio of pundits—Clifton Fadiman, Franklin P. Adams
Franklin Pierce Adams
Franklin Pierce Adams was an American columnist, well known by his initials F.P.A., and wit, best known for his newspaper column, "The Conning Tower", and his appearances as a regular panelist on radio's Information Please...

, and John Kieran—conducted each session with erudite charm and good-natured wordplay. (Guest John Gunther
John Gunther
John Gunther was an American journalist and author whose success came primarily in the 1940s and 1950s with a series of popular sociopolitical works known as the "Inside" books...

'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
The Fred Waring Show
The Fred Waring Show is an American television musical variety show that ran from June 20, 1948 to May 30, 1954 on CBS. The show was hosted Fred Waring and featured his choral group "Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians".-Synopsis:...

. 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. With the advent of TV, Fadiman gained in popularity, quickly establishing himself as an all-purpose, highly knowledgeable guest and host. At ease in front of the TV camera and experienced from his years in radio, he frequently appeared on talk shows and hosted a number of upscale quiz programs.

Fadiman was a prime example of the "witty intellectual" type popular on television in the 1950s. John Charles Daly
John Charles Daly
John Charles Patrick Croghan Daly John Charles Patrick Croghan Daly John Charles Patrick Croghan Daly (generally known as John Charles Daly or simply John Daly (February 20, 1914 – February 24, 1991) was an American journalist, game show host and radio personality, probably best known for hosting...

, Bennett Cerf
Bennett Cerf
Bennett Alfred Cerf was a publisher and co-founder of Random House. Cerf was also known for his own compilations of jokes and puns, for regular personal appearances lecturing across the United States, and for his television appearances in the panel game show What's My Line?.-Biography:Bennett Cerf...

, George S. Kaufman
George S. Kaufman
George Simon Kaufman was an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic. In addition to comedies and political satire, he wrote several musicals, notably for the Marx Brothers...

, Alexander King
Alexander King (author)
Alexander King , born Alexander Koenig in Vienna, was a bestselling humorist, memoirist and media personality of the early television era, based in the United States....

, and a number of other television celebrities personified, along with Fadiman, the highly educated, elegant, patrician raconteurs and pundits regarded by TV executives of that era as appealing to the upper-class owners of expensive early TV sets.

His longest-lasting TV program was This Is Show Business
This Is Show Business
This Is Show Business is an American panel discussion program about the entertainment industry, hosted by Clifton Fadiman, which aired on CBS Television from July 15, 1949 to March 9, 1954, and then again as a summer series on NBC Television from June 26 to September 11, 1956.-Overview:Guest...

, which ran on CBS from July 15, 1949 to March 9, 1954. Called This Is Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

during the first four months of its run, the show mixed song, dance, and other musical entertainment, with information. Host Fadiman, celebrity guest panelists, and regular raconteurs/intellectuals Kaufman, Abe Burrows
Abe Burrows
Abe Burrows was a Tony and Pulitzer-winning American humorist, author, and director for radio and the stage.-Early years:...

, and Sam Levenson
Sam Levenson
Sam Levenson was an American humorist, writer, teacher, television host and journalist.-Personal life:Born Samuel Levenson, he grew up in a large Jewish immigrant family in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1934...

 commented on the musical performers and chatted with them. In late September 1951, This Is Show Business became the first regular CBS Television series to be broadcast live from coast-to-coast. The continuing need in 1950s TV for summer series to replace live variety shows, likewise brought this show back in 1956 for a 12-week period (June 26-September 11). Fadiman and Burrows returned along with new panelists Walter Slezak
Walter Slezak
Walter Slezak was a portly Austrian character actor who appeared in numerous Hollywood films. Slezak often portrayed villains or thugs, most notably the German U-boat captain in Alfred Hitchcock's film Lifeboat , but occasionally he got to play lighter roles, as in The Wonderful World of the...

 and actress Jacqueline Susann
Jacqueline Susann
Jacqueline Susann was an American author known for her best-selling novels. Her most notable work was Valley of the Dolls, a book that broke sales records and spawned an Oscar-nominated 1967 film and a short-lived TV series.-Early years:Jacqueline Susann was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to...

, the future author of Valley of the Dolls
Valley of the Dolls
Valley of the Dolls is a novel by American writer Jacqueline Susann, published in 1966. The "dolls" within the title is a slang term for downers, barbiturates used as sleep aids....

. Susann's husband, TV executive Irving Mansfield, produced the 1956 revival for NBC Television.

Fadiman was also the last master of ceremonies to host the ABC-TV
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 game show The Name's the Same
The Name's the Same
The Name's the Same is an American game show that was produced by Goodson-Todman for the ABC television network from December 5, 1951 to August 31, 1954, followed by a run from October 25, 1954 to October 7, 1955....

. After the departure of original host Robert Q. Lewis
Robert Q. Lewis
Robert Q. Lewis was an American radio and television personality, game show host, and actor. Lewis added the middle initial "Q." to his name accidentally on the air in 1942, when he responded to a reference to radio comedian F. Chase Taylor's character, Colonel Lemuel Q...

. who had presided for three years, producers Mark Goodson
Mark Goodson
Mark Goodson was an American television producer who specialized in game shows.-Life and early career:...

 and Bill Todman
Bill Todman
William S. "Bill" Todman was an American television producer born in New York City. He produced many of television's longest running shows with business partner Mark Goodson.-Early life:...

 hired different hosts for the final 39-episode cycle: Dennis James
Dennis James
Dennis James was an American television personality, actor, and announcer. He is credited as the host of television's first network game show, the DuMont Network's Cash and Carry in 1946...

 for 18 weeks, then Bob and Ray
Bob and Ray
Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding were an American comedy team whose career spanned five decades. Their format was typically to satirize the medium in which they were performing, such as conducting radio or television interviews, with off-the-wall dialogue presented in a generally deadpan style as...

 for 10 weeks, and then Fadiman for the remaining 11 weeks. The series, broadcast live, featured namesakes of celebrities and other "famous names". On August 16, 1955, when a woman contestant was discovered to be "Hope Diamond," Fadiman personally orchestrated an astounding surprise: he arranged for the real 45 carats (9 g) Hope Diamond to be displayed to the amazed panelists and the national television audience. Such was Fadiman's reputation that the priceless jewel was entrusted to him.

Fadiman filled in for What's My Line?
What's My Line?
What's My Line? is a panel game show which originally ran in the United States on the CBS Television Network from 1950 to 1967, with several international versions and subsequent U.S. revivals. The game tasked celebrity panelists with questioning contestants in order to determine their occupations....

host John Charles Daly for two weeks in 1958 when Daly was on assignment in Tokyo.


Fadiman's first marriage was to Pauline Elizabeth Rush, with whom he had a son, Jonathan Rush.

His second marriage was to Annalee Jacoby (Annalee Whitmore Jacoby), aka Annalee Fadiman, an author, screenwriter for MGM and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 foreign correspondent for Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

and Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

, who later used the name Annalee Jacoby Fadiman. Annalee was the co-author, with Theodore H. White
Theodore H. White
Theodore Harold White was an American political journalist, historian, and novelist, known for his wartime reporting from China and accounts of the 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972 and 1980 presidential elections.-Life and career:...

 of the famous book Thunder Out of China (1946). Clifton and Annalee had a son, Kim Fadiman, and a daughter, editor Anne Fadiman
Anne Fadiman
Anne Fadiman is an American author, editor and teacher.She is the daughter of the renowned literary, radio and television personality Clifton Fadiman and World War II correspondent and author Annalee Jacoby Fadiman...

. On 5 February 2002, Annalee committed suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 in Captiva, Florida
Captiva, Florida
Captiva is a census-designated place in Lee County, Florida, United States. It is located on Captiva Island. As of the 2000 census, the CDP had a total year-round population of 379. It is part of the Cape Coral–Fort Myers Metropolitan Statistical Area....

, aged 85, after a long battle with breast cancer
Breast cancer
Breast cancer is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas...

 and Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system...



Clifton Fadiman died on June 20, 1999 of pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer refers to a malignant neoplasm of the pancreas. The most common type of pancreatic cancer, accounting for 95% of these tumors is adenocarcinoma, which arises within the exocrine component of the pancreas. A minority arises from the islet cells and is classified as a...

 on Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island is an island located on the Gulf coast of Florida, just offshore of Fort Myers. In 2000, it had an estimated population of 6,064 people...

, Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

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.

External links

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