Celebrated author, humorist and The New York Times columnist Russell Baker died Jan. 21 in his home in Leesburg, Va. He was 93.
In addition to his celebrated and much-lauded newspaper columns, Baker hosted PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre beginning in 1993, succeeding Alistair Cooke, and stayed in the spot until 2004, becoming one of public television’s most familiar presences.
According to the New York Times, his son Allen Baker said that he died of complications from fall. Baker was born August 14, 1925 in Morrisonville, Va. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1947. From there, he went on to become a prominent writer. He is best known for his irreverent Times column titled “Observer” which leaned into politics as well as other facets of culture. The column also ran in hundreds of newspapers for 36 years. He received his first Pulitzer Prize for his column in 1979 and then received a second for his best-selling autobiography Growing Up in 1982.
Baker was known for his essays, satirical commentary and prose. In total, he wrote and edited 17 books including his Growing Up 1989 follow up The Good Times as well as An American in Washington (1961), No Cause for Panic (1964), Poor Russell’s Almanac (1972), Looking Back: Heroes, Rascals, and Other Icons of the American Imagination (2002). He also published and edited various anthologies of his columns.
He also contributed to various publications including Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Saturday Evening Post, and McCalls. In 1993, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.