Marc Cooper has an entertaining appreciation of his friend and journalism mentor, the late Marshall Frady, in The Nation. Frady died this week at 64. Cooper's obit begins:
I first met Marshall Frady in the Sinai desert during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when we shared the back seat of a Russian-made Egyptian Army jeep. Four months later we met again in Mexico City, this time as partners. We had successfully pitched Playboy magazine a long interview with Fidel Castro, and the editors sent us to the Mexican capital to negotiate with the Cuban Embassy.
At 23 years old, a decade less than Marshall, I was very much the junior partner. I was just barely breaking into journalism. Marshall, however--born in Augusta, Georgia, and educated at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina--had already made his bones having turned out stirring, street-level chronicles of the civil rights movement for Newsweek and The Saturday Evening Post. His 1968 biography of George Wallace had been an instant classic. And a short, stormy stint as a staff writer at Harper's Magazine had established Marshall as one of America's most gifted and mesmerizing practitioners of literary journalism.
This stolen honeymoon ŕ trois--my wife and I and Marshall in the room next door in the Hotel Geneve--stretched into an amazing fifty-seven days. By day we would sit waiting for the Cubans to give us the go-ahead to Havana. By night, the three of us would dine, drink, dance and drink some more--all on Playboy's generous tab. Marshall would regale us with his reporter's war stories and we would sit gimlet-eyed (so to speak).
I'll mention this passage, just to remind freelancers that there was a good old days: "We never made it to Cuba, by the way. Playboy ate the $17,000 expense bill without as much as a grumble."