Author and Humorist David Rakoff, 47, has Died
Famed humorist, author, andÂ National Public Radio personality David Rakoff died on Thursday after aÂ protractedÂ battle with cancer. He was 47.
Rakoff published three essay collections: Fraud, Donâ€™t Get Too Comfortable, andÂ Half Empty. Â He was awarded aÂ 2001 LambdaÂ Literary AwardÂ for FraudÂ and anotherÂ in 2006Â Â forÂ Donâ€™t Get Too Comfortable. Â He was also a notedÂ contributor to National Public Radio’sÂ weekly programÂ This American Life.Â
TheÂ AtlanticÂ Wire reports,
According to an essay he wrote for The New York Times Magazine in 1994, Rakoff was born in Montreal to Jewish parents who immigrated to Canada from South Africa. Rakoff first moved to New York City, the place he would later describe as “the great love of my life.” He also worked briefly in Japan as a translator, but, at 22, he came down with his first bout of cancerâ€”Hodgkins disease. He overcame the illness, which he liked to humorously downplay as “the dilettante cancer.”
Before devoting himself to writing fulltime, Rakoff worked in publishing. At this time, he befriended Ira Glass, then a producer at NPR’s Morning Edition. When Glass went on to create This American Life, he invited Rakoff to read his deadpan essays on the show. Along with David Sedaris, Rakoff would help establish the show’s distinctive voice. Rakoff also began pursuing a career as a prolific freelance journalist for the publications like New York, The New York Times, and Salon. He wrote three books of essays, Fraud, Don’t Get Too Comfortable, and Half Empty, and last year, he was awarded the Thurber Prize for Humor.
In 2010, Â the alwaysÂ incrediblyÂ wittyÂ Rakoff appeared on The Daily Show to talk about his last collection Half Empty.
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A full obituary will follow on LambdaLiterary.org shortly.
[Photo via Thuber House]