“I’m an expert on Nixon because he and I went to the same dentist. He got drilled and X-rayed just as I did, in the same chair. So I can get on the radio and tell you all about his place in history. In this endeavor, I am being monitored and closely watched by faithful listeners who have been asking, ‘Just what will you say about Nixon on the radio? I mean, given your history and all?’ Well, here it is: I liked the son of a bitch. I think we have lost a great man. (Oh, but you shouldn’t say that word on the radio!) But this is Nixon we’re talking about. And he would understand. I liked Nixon because he was a scrambler who could curse and swear and drink with the best of them and I don’t feel compelled to apologize for feeling the way I do about the flawed, imperfect, awkward, struggling man who was buried yesterday.”
– William O’Shaughnessy, a liberal radio host in his 1994 on-air commentary about the death of Richard Nixon, a conservative ex-president.
I only met O’Shaughnessy once, but I liked him. Unlike the average broadcaster today, Bill had elegance, grace, charm, and an educated vocabulary. When the quote you just read popped up on my Random Quotes database a moment ago, I googled his name only to learn that he died last year. I should have written to tell him what I just told you. Oh well, perhaps it is enough to have told you.
Here is my favorite passage from his colorful and lengthy obituary:
“A ‘Vivid Man About Town’ who frequented Le Cirque, ’21,’ and The Four Seasons when they were around, O’Shaughnessy always wore blazers on an airplane, and Belgian loafers, and he could signal ships and stop traffic with his Yankees World Series ring, a gift to him from George M. Steinbrenner, who admired a commentary he had written about Wellington Mara.”
Rest in Peace, Bill.
Roy H. Williams