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The Writer on Channel 17, February 11, 2001
NYS Writers Institute, May 6, 1999


George Plimpton is the best-selling author and editor of nearly thirty books and the editor of The Paris Review. Perhaps he is best known for his practice of covering professional sports by participating in them as an amateur. In his first exploit, in 1959, he boxed three rounds with light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore. Plimpton wrote articles for Sports Illustrated about his experiences, many of which evolved into books, notably Out of My League (1961), about pitching against the great batters of the American and National baseball leagues; Paper Lion (1966), about playing quarterback at the summer training camp of the Detroit Lions; and The Bogey Man (1968), about participating in three golf tournaments on the pro circuit. Ernest Hemingway called Out of My League, "beautifully observed and incredibly conceived."

Plimpton's most recent book is Truman Capote (1997), subtitled, "in which various friends, enemies, acquaintances, and detractors recall his turbulent career." Kirkus Reviews called the book "an A-list gabfest" and remarked on "the sheer variety of impressions, anecdotes and reminiscences about an inarguably remarkable, mercurial individual." The book is frequently compared to Plimpton's best selling Edie (1982), written with Jean Stein, about Pop demimonde Edie Sedgewich.

Along with friends H. L. Humes and Peter Matthiessen, Plimpton founded The Paris Review, one of the world's best known "little magazines," in 1953. Other books include Rabbit's Umbrella (1956), Fireworks (1984), Open Net (1985), The Curious Case of Sidd Finch (1987), The X-Factor (1987), The Best of Plimpton (1990) and The Norton Book of Sports (1992). He writes regularly for Sports Illustrated, Esquire, The Gentleman's Quarterly and other journals.

George Plimpton visited the NYS Writers Institute May 6, 1999.

posterFilmography (appeared in or contributed to):

  • EDtv (1999)
  • Good Will Hunting (1997)
  • When We Were Kings (1996)
  • Fireworks! The Magic of Pyrotechnics (1995)
  • Little Man Tate (1991)
  • Easy Wheels (1989)
  • A Fool and His Money (1989)
  • Religion, Inc (1989)
  • Volunteers (1985)
  • If Ever I See You Again (1978)
  • Beyond the Law (1968)
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

  • "Possibly the most arresting and delightful narrative in all of sports literature." - Book Week on Paper Lion

    "By turns funny, charming, and ridiculous. . .where Mr. Plimpton draws upon his X Factor is in his prose style, in his unfailing ability to find the perfectly funny word or phrase." - Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times

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    Additional Links:
    The Writer PBS Series
    Writers Online Magazine Article
    Times Union Article

    For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.