October 29, 1995
"The Stalking of Kristin," by George Lardner Jr. Atlantic Monthly Press. 340 pages. $23 George Lardner of the Washington Post has written a book I could not write. "The Stalking of Kristin" is about the murder of his child.On May 30, 1992, Kristin Lardner was walking down Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. Her former lover sneaked up behind her and calmly put a bullet in her head. Fleeing down an alley, he returned suddenly and shot her twice more as she lay mortally wounded on the sidewalk. Minutes later, the killer himself would be dead of a suicide.
April 3, 1995
When Ring Lardner began writing these stories about 80 years ago, baseball was a game. There were no Rotisserie Leagues, or middle-aged men paying $300 for a replica baseball jersey, or myth-makers eager to put the sport on an altar of mystical worship.Plenty of people played baseball, and plenty of people watched it, but it had not yet been discovered by the intellectuals. The fans were blue-collar and working-class; the players were farm boys or city kids, perhaps functionally illiterate, probably fond of booze and almost certainly lacking in social graces.
August 2, 1998
Rex Lardner, 80, a humorist and author, died of a heart attack Monday while playing mixed doubles on a tennis court near his home in Great Neck, N.Y. A member of a storied literary family that included his uncle, humorist Ring Lardner, he was the chief radio and television writer for innovative comedian Ernie Kovacs, and the author of more than a dozen books and hundreds of magazine articles.Chapters of one of his first books, "Out of the Bunker and Into the Trees," a 1960 parody of golf and golfers, have been widely reprinted in sports magazines.
November 2, 2000
Ring Lardner Jr., 85, the last surviving member of the Hollywood Ten, a group of screenwriters who were jailed and blacklisted during the McCarthy era in the 1950s, died of cancer Tuesday at his home in New York City. His satirical screenplays earned him two Academy Awards, but he was best known for his refusal to tell the House Un-American Activities Committee if he had ever been a Communist. He was a Communist but held that his political views were none of the government's business. Mr. Lardner, with Michael Kanin, won an Oscar for best original screenplay in 1942 for "Woman of the Year," starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
July 22, 2001
Summer's upon us, which means that until Labor Day offerings at the neighborhood googolplex will skew decidedly downward, appealing to audiences with a mean age of 14 (with the emphasis on mean). Luckily, there are loads of smart, well-written books about movies and their makers that have come out in the past year. Even if they can't go to good movies, literate filmgoers can endure that long, dry season until fall by at least reading about them. Ring Lardner, Jr. was the last surviving member of the Hollywood Ten before he died last October.
November 18, 1994
Maybe it's your brother-in-law or someone in the office. Maybe it's someone in the car pool or someone who's dating your daughter. But it's someone: A person who considers him- or herself intrinsically more interesting than you, whose life is so much more fascinating than yours, whose wit so much more powerful, and who seizes every second of every day to narrate their latest adventures.Uck. Terrible, no?Now imagine two of them -- with a movie camera -- and you have some idea of the horrors that lurk within "My Life's in Turnaround," which is one half of the double bill at the Charles this week, and a movie so piercingly vain it makes mere narcissism seem like strength of character.