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Ric Burns on the Surprise of George Plimpton’s Death


In this web exclusive outtake from Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself, documentary filmmaker Ric Burns compares the death of George Plimpton, a journalist and native New Yorker, to a light going out at the top of the Empire State Building.

Watch Web Exclusive Outtake from Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself

“It was like a light on top of the Empire State Building went out when he died,” says Burns about the death George Plimpton in 2003. “You felt like he couldn’t die. His indescribably handsome, boyish quality kept on giving the older he got. His eternally adolescent, prep school energy promised to keep on going.”

Describing the atmosphere at Plimpton’s memorial service at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, Burn says, “There was a palpable feeling that something absolutely irreplaceable had gone out of the world. He was a genius at being himself. All of New York and all of American history had gone into making him and he wore it lightly as if it weighed nothing and inhabited it with an incredible grace.”

Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself premieres nationally Friday, May 16, 9-10:30 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).


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