Lillian Ross (1918-2017), in conversation in June, 2002 with host Richard Wolinsky.
Lillian Ross, who died on September 20, 2017 at the age of 99, spent seven decades as a staff writer for the New Yorker Magazine, beginning in 1945. Writing for the Talk of the Town section of the magazine, her credo was “Your attention at all times should be on your subject, not on you. Do not call attention to yourself.” In 1950, her profile of Ernest Hemingway, according to the New York Times, elevated her into the top ranks of New Yorker stylists. Using novelistic techniques for writing non-fiction, she is often credited as the primary influence of what came to be called “new journalism” as exemplified in her series of articles about the making of the John Huston film, The Red Badge of Courage, which were collected in the book, Picture, often called the best book ever written about Hollywood. She spent several years as the mistress of long-time New Yorker editor Willliam Shawn, as chronicled in her book Here But Not Here, from 1998.
This interview with Lillian Ross took place on June 4, 2002 on the publication of her book, “Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism.” An extended version can be found as a Radio Wolinsky podcast.
Also: Review of “How I Learned to Drive” at Custom Made in San Francisco through June 14th.