Author, Columnist Sydney Harris Dies At Age 69
CHICAGO (AP) _ Author and syndicated columnist Sydney J. Harris, who died at age 69, could be tough or gentle in his writing, but in either case was someone ″who made people think,″ a friend and colleague said.
Harris, whose column, ″Strictly Personal,″ appeared in more than 100 newspapers, including the Chicago Sun-Times, died at a hospital Sunday. He had suffered heart problems and a recent stroke.
As author of 11 books and numerous columns, Harris was best known for his humorous approach to social and philosophical questions.
He was a lover of classical literature, and was involved in the Great Books Movement launched in the 1930s by philosopher Mortimer Adler and Robert Hutchins at the University of Chicago.
″He was provocative, whether he did it harshly or did it gently. He could do either and both,″ said former Sun-Times drama critic Herman Kogan. ″I think he’d like to be remembered as someone ... who made people think.″
″He was in the best sense of the word and in every case ... liberal- minded. In his earlier years he was inclined to be brusque and opinionated, but as he got older and better, he became a truly liberal-minded person,″ Kogan said. ″He developed over the years, even with people with whom he disagreed, an ability to examine the other side.″
Harris was syndicated by News America Syndicate owned by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch bought the Sun-Times on Jan. 9, 1984, and sold it last summer.
Telephone calls to the syndicate’s offices in Orange County, Calif., went unanswered late Sunday.
In a column that appeared in the Sun-Times two days before his death and taken from his latest book, ″Clearing the Ground,″ Harris wrote of his opposition to capital punishment.
Born in London on Sept. 14, 1917, Harris came to Chicago as a boy and attended the University of Chicago. He began his newspaper carer in 1934 with the Chicago Herald and Examiner and was drama critic and a columnist for the Chicago Daily News from 1941 to 1978.
Survivors include his wife Patricia and four children.