Charmed Life

A biography of George Plimpton reveals the professional amateur in the eyes of his beholders

Nancy Crampton

Plimpton at play, even his cat found him charming.

The most gratifying thing about the new George Plimpton biography, George, Being George (Random House; 423 pages), is that it is nearly as much fun as George Plimpton. For the bulk of his 76 years, Plimpton--the Wasp bohemian who quarterbacked the Detroit Lions, danced at Truman Capote's Black and White Ball, set off more fireworks than a thousand juvenile delinquents and edited America's greatest literary journal for 50 years before his death in 2003--was educated society's unofficial mayor of good times. Who else could box a few rounds with Archie Moore, trade stanzas with Marianne Moore and make a living by...

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