Who he was: Clifton "Kip" Fadiman was an author, editor and radio and television personality in the United States. Clifton Fadiman was well-known as an editor and judge for more than 50 years of Book of the Month Club, described as a man who "took joy in bringing ideas to a broad audience."
Clifton Fadiman was described by one university professor as "generally worshiped among those interested in literature." Fadiman focused significantly on children's literature and his contributions were recognized with the Dorothy C. McKenzie Award for his anthology A World Treasury of Children's Literature and other works. Fadiman also received a National Book Award in 1993.
Fadiman edited or authored numerous books, mainly extensive anthologies on a variety of subjects. With co-author John S. Major, Fadiman wrote The Lifetime Reading Plan, re-issued in 1999 as The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classical Guide to World Literature.
Fadiman moderated an extremely popular radio quiz show, "Information, Please!" from 1938 to 1948, in which listener questions were directed to the show's panel of guests. At one point the show was estimated to have an audience of nine million listeners. "Information, Please!" became a television show for one summer season in 1952.
Kip Fadiman hosted his TV program, "This is Show Business," originally called "This is Broadway," which ran from 1949 to 1954 and again in 1956, and was the first nationally broadcast live television show in the United States. Musical entertainment performances were offered along with commentary by a panel of US intellectuals.
Background: Clifton P. "Kip" Fadiman was born 15 May 1904 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Clifton's father was Isadore, a druggist who immigrated to the US from Russia in 1892. Clifton Fadiman's grandfather was the famous Russian psychologist, Boris Sidis, who emigrated from Russia in 1887.
Fadiman began reading voraciously at a very young age and by age 17 was writing book reviews for The Nation and estimated once that during his lifetime he had read 25,000 books.
After graduating from Columbia University, Kip Fadiman worked for two years as a high school English teacher, then ten years at Simon & Schuster, eventually as chief editor. Clifton Fadiman then spent the years from 1933 to 1943 overseeing the book review section for The New Yorker. During his career he was a judge for the Book of the Month Club, senior editor of Cricket Magazine (for children) for which he penned a regular book review column.
Fadiman was married twice and had three children: Jonathan Rush with first wife, Pauline Elizabeth Rush; Kim Fadiman and Anne Fadiman (former editor of The American Scholar until 2004) with his second wife, journalist, author and screenwriter Annalee Whitmore Jacoby (who died in 2002).
Clifton Fadiman died of pancreatic cancer on Sanibel Island, Florida on 20 June 1999 at the age of 95.