10 June 2009

George Frazier

George Frazier's biography by Charles Fountain

Mr Frazier was born 98 years ago today. I just found him yesterday at the Strand bookstore.

While a columnist at the Boston Herald

"A nasty man, Clancy. Unprincipled and destructive. A road company Joe McCarthy. A man of no visible talent except for evil. A lousy newspaperman. A real five-star son-of-a-bitch...I'd have also liked to call him a prick, but why give that word a bad name."

Harold Clancy about George Frazier

"He constantly referred to George as a prissy writer and after George left his office after a rather unpleasant meeting about his disintegrating deadline discipline, reeking of Faberge or whatever cologne he was partial to at the time, Clancy turned to the others in the room and asked sardonically, 'Just what do we have to do to get that guy to smell like a man?'"

The Matter of Style

"It is my own conviction that there can be no style without a certain aloofness, a certain inaccessibility, an immense honesty and inviolability in the matter of one's craft, a relentless being-true-to-one's-own-image. George Frazier

More of Mr Frazier and his September 1960 Esquire article to come...


Anonymous said...

It's The Andover Shop in the late Sixties. George and Charlie are gossiping in the back while some hapless undergrad tries on a blue seersucker jacket.

All of a sudden, Frazier offers a bit of his famous sartorial advice -- "Now if you just sew a name tag above the breast pocket, you'll look perfect selling ice cream on the corner."

Anonymous said...

For those who can't wait:


Allie in G'town said...

The final quote...the most elegent definition of je ne sais quoi I've ever heard. Too good not to be put in the archives.

tintin said...

Allie- There's so much more from Frazier that'll be coming this week.

ADG said...

Tintin....man...If I'd known that you've just dicovered the Frazier bio I would have put you in it ages ago. A bit of a sad story but nowhere near the degree of Cheever. One of Frazier's sons was a schoolmate of Flusser's older brother in college.He's an attorney in New Orleans. The other son, Pepper, sells real estate on Nantucket.

Merkin was a close friend of Frazier as well. If you play your cards right, I'll take you to see Merkin.

Can't wait to see more of your Frazier posts.


Richard M said...

George Frazier is one of my true heroes, and my sartorial inspiration. His 1960 Esquire article is still the best thing written on the subject of men's attire. The bio is, IMO, rather mediocre. Mr. Richard Carreno, who has a blog, has much better stuff on GF. Frazier's son, GF 4th, is a bright and witty gentleman-rather a chip off the old block-whom I have the pleasure of knowing.

ben said...

George was my father's classmate at Boston Latin School and Harvard. My father didn't think he'd amount to much and was much surprised when he achieved a certain distinction as a jazz critic. One summer night during my college years, the two us delightedly observed George, on the Merv Griffin show, politely disembowel a rather haughty Leroi Jones (a/k/a Imamu Amiri Baraka). By coincidence, I ran into George the next day--where else?--at Brooks Brothers. I told him I'd seen him the night before. In my limited experience it was unusual for an adult to be so openly anxious about his performance, and then to care about an 18-year-old's opinion. Years later, we were both writers for Boston papers. The other side of George was his pleasure in ridiculing in his column the likes of poor David Eisenhower. Acerbic but kind, the resemblance to John Cheever, as noted, is well-taken.

tintin said...

Sorry for the catch up from the road trip. Merkin? Lets go.

Richard M-
I like the bio a lot and am finding more every day including the recent purchase of, 'The One with the moustache is Costello.'

ben- Many thanks for sharing those great stories.

george frazier said...

I am a lawyer (dreadful profession, but it keeps me off the streets), but I don't remember Alan Flusser's brother. Of course, I don't remember much of the shortest, drunkest years (I didn't remember much at the time either). What was (or is) his name?