A Comedian of Guilt

By Albert Goldman Life Feb. 7, 1969 The publication of a book is not often a major event in American culture. Most of our classics, when they first appeared, met with disappointing receptions, and even the much-ballyhoed best-sellers of recent years have rarely cut a...

Boy, 8

By Marilyn Johnson Life June 1, 1992 I didn’t want to be part of anything when I was a teenager, especially my family. There were seven of us, and they pressed in on me. So I buried my head in books. My reading irritated my parents; books were a narcotic I used right...

The Last Angry Woman

By Tom Junod Life April 1991 “Are you safe?” is what she always asks the children. It is what she asks the exhausted little boy who has just driven nonstop with his mother from New Hampshire to Atlanta in a rattling VW bus; what she asks the hotel-bound boy whose last...

Oh, You Beautiful Doll

By Jennifer Allen Life December 1981   At rush hour on this dusky autumn afternoon taxis and buses clog the streets of lower Manhattan; the sidewalks are jammed with weary workers heading home. But it’s business as usual here in the executive offices of LJN Toys....

Dumb Broad at a Dumb Fight

By Shana Alexander Life June 4, 1965 Although until last week I had never personally attended a prize fight, I knew what I expected to see. The boxers’ glistening, circling bodies and the hoarse roar of the crowd had become familiar to me through years of exposure to...

A Miracle of Faith

By Tom Junod Life July 1991 She would board the plane in Albuquerque, although she knew that doing so could kill her. She would fly to New York and then to Belgrade and Sarajevo, where she would get on a bus. Thirty-five hours it was supposed to take Carol Lynn Leland...

Norman

By Brock Brower Life September 24, 1965 At this point in his literary career, Norman Mailer really ought—at least as a source of metaphor—to Quit the Ring. He has, as they say, heart, a lot of heart, but even if he’s right—that Papa Hemingway threw him and his entire...

Joe Biden in the Crunch

By Gary Smith Life October 1987 The guide cupped his eyes against the sunlight and watched the man pick his way up the cliff. Where to? he wondered. Why? Their raft had ridden out the rapids and reached a place where the river rested. There the group of vacationing...

Magic Meryl

By Brad Darrach Life December 1987 Meryl Streep is gray with cold. In Ironweed, her new movie, she plays a ragged derelict who dies in a cheap hotel room, and for more than half an hour before the scene she has been hugging a huge bag of ice cubes in an agonizing...

The Day The Fairytale Died

By Marilyn Johnson Life 1997 ONCE UPON A TIME Hundreds of years ago, she would have been beheaded. She was a fair maiden, a beautiful virgin born on a summer’s day, married on a summer’s day. Touchingly, she loved her prince. He loved her not. She did her duty to the...

The Curious Childhood of an 11-Year Old Beauty Queen

By Pat Jordan Life April 1994 It’s eight a.m. The lobby to the Riverfront Hilton in Little Rock, Ark., is crowded with pretty young girls. Their faces are elaborately made up—lipstick, mascara, false lashes; their hair is in curlers. The girls are not playing or...