Clay Felker remembered

Friends look back at life of the editor

“THE ONLY reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it,” said Leo Rosten. I thought of this when people started asking for comments on the life, times and death of the incomparable editor personified, Clay Felker.

I worked for this creative genius — and his designer Milton Glaser — back in the ’60s when the New York magazine idea was under the aegis of the old Herald Tribune newspaper. And afterward, when New York became independently the hottest magazine seen on any coast. And so it has continued under the ownership of such varied titans as Rupert Murdoch and Henry Kravis with editor-publishers following in Clay’s big footsteps. Men like Jack Nessel, Joe Armstrong, John Berendt, Ed Kosner and today’s Adam Moss. Everybody who ever sat down to bat something out independently on a typewriter owes a debt to Clay, at the head of this list are such big names as the giants — Tom Wolfe and Jimmy Breslin, Nora Ephron.

What Clay knew was how to make news and make waves and he did that over and over. Our feelings now are for his wife, Gail Sheehy, who has a story on Hillary Clinton in the current issue of New York — a magazine Clay created. Through its pages, his influence still reverberates.

CLAY FELKER will be buried at Oakland Cemetery in Sag Harbor at noon Sunday. Tom and Sheila Wolfe will be receiving with Gail in their Southampton house after. A public memorial and celebration of this great editor’s life will happen in September in NYC at the time Random House releases an anthology of New York stories for the magazine’s 40th anniversary.

“WHAT A drag it is getting old!” This is the famed first line of the Rolling Stone’s 1967 classic “Mother’s Little Helper.” But the Rollingest Stone of all — Mick Jagger — seems untouched by time and tide. Now 65, ’tis said he’ll soon wed L’Wren Scott, 23 years his junior. Mick says, “She is my main point of interest.” Seems like it since he bought her a $12 million house in London’s Chelsea. L’Wren is in her 40s; he’s not cradle-robbing. And he’s so young at heart and can still wear the tight tee shirts and hip-skimming jeans of 20 years ago.

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