Remembering George Plimpton Paris Review founder George Plimpton, who carved out his own artistic niche by making literature out of non-literary pursuits, died Thursday at age 76. NPR's Mike Pesca and Karen Grigby Bates remember this seminal figure of 20th-century American letters.

Remembering George Plimpton

Writer, 'Paris Review' Founder Dies at Age 76 in New York Home

Remembering George Plimpton

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

George Plimpton, photographed in 1980. Alen MacWeeney/Corbis hide caption

toggle caption
Alen MacWeeney/Corbis

Author and literary patron George Plimpton -- who carved his own artistic niche by making literature out of non-literary pursuits -- died Thursday at his New York City home. He was 76.

In 1953, Plimpton co-founded The Paris Review, a quarterly magazine with a reputation for publishing the work of writers who would later become some of the world's most important authors. The magazine also featured interviews with great authors such as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.

In the 1960s, Plimpton became known for "participatory" journalism. He boxed with Archie Moore, pitched to baseball legend Willie Mays, played in pro-am golf tournaments and even performed in the circus. His best-selling book Paper Lion chronicled the time he spent in training camp with the Detroit Lions football team, posing as a slender, awkward quarterback candidate from Harvard. The story became a movie starring Alan Alda.

Plimpton acted himself in numerous films, including Reds and Good Will Hunting. His frequent television appearances made the most of his sly, self-effacing wit and good-humored approach to the multitude of things that captured his interest, from the pro golf tour to fireworks.