Tom Snyder (1936-2007)

Anyway, my doctors assure me this is nothing to worry about, and I have to accept that, I guess. They say this kind of leukemia is not fatal, that people can live with it for thirty years…. I ain’t looking for thirty years, but fifteen more would be nice!

— Tom Snyder,
April, 2005
Alas, his doctors were wrong, as Tom Snyder passed away last night in San Francisco at the age of 71.

In 1973, I was bedridden for several weeks with a torn-up knee and, unable to find a comfortable position in which to sleep, plagued by insomnia. Tom Snyder on The Tomorrow Show became my late-night pal. His interview style was artful in its artlessness and, unlike other talking heads who pretended they knew everything, Tom was unafraid to let on when he just didn’t “get it.”

Just as David Letterman was Warren Zevon’s music’s best friend, Tom Snyder was Harlan Ellison’s writing’s best friend, inviting the writer on his show (and its various permutations) many, many times over the years. And while it’s these memories I’ll cherish most, I’ll never forget the good humor and class with which Snyder handled John Lydon and Keith Levine of Public Image Ltd. in 1980:

I loved the music of PiL, but Lydon and Levine came across as feckless dicks in the face of Snyder’s pure class.

I’ve missed Tom Snyder ever since he went off the air in 1999. Today, I miss him even more.

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