You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer, who died today in  Manhattan,   was perhaps an interviewer’s dream. One simple, even stupid question could elicit an answer of insight and eloquence, something that is rare in the programmed responses of today’s publicity mill, even among famous authors.

Memorials today will recall not just his literary high points, but his controversy and combat, as a regular guest on television talk shows, his coverage of the 1968 Democratic and Republican conventions for Esquire and his fabled run for mayor of New York.

In 2004, director-writer James Toback interviewed Mailer for V Life, Variety’s consumer magazine, a philosophical exercise in which Mailer lamented the state of communication today.

An excerpt: “There is too much communication now…Mediocrity has prevailed. And all these new forms of communication often depress me rather than excite me. One reason is that I am too old to get into them. So part of it is spite. Annoyance that I’m off the board.”

And there was this great anecdote:

“I was interviewing (Henry Kissinger) over a period of time and we found an understanding. We didn’t agree on much but each could recognize the other’s strengths, put it that way. He is at his best when he gets slightly wicked, with a wicked grin, and he is telling you that he said something to somebody and then adds: ‘You know, Mailer, it had the additional virtue of being true.'”

More Voices

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial

    Column: Documentarian Barry Avrich Ponders Whether Harvey Weinstein Will Be Convicted

    Norman Mailer, who died today in  Manhattan,   was perhaps an interviewer’s dream. One simple, even stupid question could elicit an answer of insight and eloquence, something that is rare in the programmed responses of today’s publicity mill, even among famous authors. Memorials today will recall not just his literary high points, but his controversy and […]

  • Janet Mock Pose

    'Pose' Writer Janet Mock on Making History With Trans Storytelling (Guest Column)

    Norman Mailer, who died today in  Manhattan,   was perhaps an interviewer’s dream. One simple, even stupid question could elicit an answer of insight and eloquence, something that is rare in the programmed responses of today’s publicity mill, even among famous authors. Memorials today will recall not just his literary high points, but his controversy and […]

  • Tony Awards Sightlines Column

    How to Produce the Tony Awards: 5 Unsolicited Tips

    Norman Mailer, who died today in  Manhattan,   was perhaps an interviewer’s dream. One simple, even stupid question could elicit an answer of insight and eloquence, something that is rare in the programmed responses of today’s publicity mill, even among famous authors. Memorials today will recall not just his literary high points, but his controversy and […]

  • Under the Silver Lake

    Cannes 2018's Hidden Thrill: The Opportunity to Find New Voices

    Norman Mailer, who died today in  Manhattan,   was perhaps an interviewer’s dream. One simple, even stupid question could elicit an answer of insight and eloquence, something that is rare in the programmed responses of today’s publicity mill, even among famous authors. Memorials today will recall not just his literary high points, but his controversy and […]

  • Kathryn Bigelow Kathryn Bigelow poses backstage

    It's Time for Action, Not Promises, to Get More Women in Filmmaking (Guest Column)

    Norman Mailer, who died today in  Manhattan,   was perhaps an interviewer’s dream. One simple, even stupid question could elicit an answer of insight and eloquence, something that is rare in the programmed responses of today’s publicity mill, even among famous authors. Memorials today will recall not just his literary high points, but his controversy and […]

  • Netflix Cannes

    Cannes vs. Netflix Defines Fight for Cinema’s Future

    Norman Mailer, who died today in  Manhattan,   was perhaps an interviewer’s dream. One simple, even stupid question could elicit an answer of insight and eloquence, something that is rare in the programmed responses of today’s publicity mill, even among famous authors. Memorials today will recall not just his literary high points, but his controversy and […]

  • Love Never Dies - Utica, NY

    Could 'Love Never Dies' Live Again on Broadway?

    Norman Mailer, who died today in  Manhattan,   was perhaps an interviewer’s dream. One simple, even stupid question could elicit an answer of insight and eloquence, something that is rare in the programmed responses of today’s publicity mill, even among famous authors. Memorials today will recall not just his literary high points, but his controversy and […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content