R.I.P. Tom Snyder

I’m still behind in the news and discovered during a meeting that I just attended that Tom Snyder has died. I used to watch his late, late night show and always thought he was terrific. I think that Harlan Ellison appeared as a guest on his show more times than anyone else.

Over at the Webderland message boards, Harlan Ellison had some nice words for his friend:

There was this one time, I’m pretty sure it was 1980, and I was in New York to promote the publication of SHATTERDAY, and I was in the makeup chair in preparation for going on-camera, and I was under a sheet so no pancake would get on my shirt collar, and all at once the makeup lady stepped aside, behind me, and I was looking in the wall-to-wall mirror, looking at myself in the chair, and suddenly there was Tom, standing behind me. (It was, and still is, the practice of most tv talk show hosts not to pre-greet the guests of the evening with anything more than a perfunctory hello and I’ll see you in a minute; they just don’t mingle much, I suppose on the show-biz theory “Don’t leave your best stuff in the Green Room.”) Seeing him there behind me was startling. He laid his hands on my shoulders, and I saw tears in his eyes. He was crying. “Geezus, Tom, what the hell’s wrong? Something happen?”

He said, “I just re-read ‘Jeffty is Five,’ and every time it just wipes me out,” and he leaned down and kissed the top of my head; and he left the room, and when we did the show he was my old friend again.

In all the years I’ve been doing television, radio, DVD extras, and internet interviews, from Larry King to Merv Griffin to Joe Pyne and all John Nebels, Jessica Savitches and Studs Terkels in-between, the ONLY interviewer who ever read the book of the interviewee–not the stooge-supplied precis–or the publisher blurb packet–but the BOOK, and usually ALL of the book … was

Tom Snyder.

What he said to me was, he had “re-read” Jeffty. Not JUST read it, but had re-read it from its magazine publication.

Thank you again. But oh how I miss him.

(There’s no direct link to the message so if you visit the boards, you may have to scroll around a bit.)