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George Plimpton

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The Paris Review is better known for its poetic frenzy than for its punctuality. This year it is celebrating its silver anniversary -- three years late. "The 25th year slid by without anyone raising any hoopla; no one can remember why," explains editor George Ames Plimpton, who decided simply to "designate another year."

"Our approach to deadlines has always been rather Moroccan. Time doesn't seem to mean Very much," said Plimpton recently after breakfast in Los Angeles.

Plimpton, a hired gun for Sports Illustrated, makes a business of stepping into lions' cages and NFL huddles, and living to write about it with characteristic wit and aplomb. He was here to regale an "early bird breakfast" of insurance lawyers with tales of his antics in the world of sports literature. After blueberry blintzes and hash browns, he adjourned to his hotel room, loosened his paisley necktie, kicked off his loafers, and began explaining the joys and tribulations of his "hobby": The Paris Review.

He had arrived late the previous evening with a clean shirt and canvass briefcase stuffed with manuscripts. "I edited an interview with Paul Bowles on the flight out, and going back I think it's Erskine Caldwell. It always puzzles contributors when their manuscripts get sent back from the circus, or the Boston Celtics training camp," says Plimpton, a tall man with handsome boyish looks, a deep country-club tan, and an indefatigable charm, which has become his trademark.

The editor's casual elegance befits the magazine that can boast having recruited its first publisher, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, at the running of the bulls in Pamplona, and for a while had its editorial headquarters in Peter Duchin's barge moored on the Seine.


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