Sidney Harman

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"Renaissance man" is an overused phrase. But it was a perfect description of my friend Sidney Harman, who died April 12 at 92. Sidney built a hugely successful audio-equipment business. He wrote books. He raised a fabulous family with Jane Harman, and he and Jane always gave back, making indispensable contributions to the arts, culture and infrastructure of Washington and our country. At 92, he bought Newsweek and then merged it with the Daily Beast. At his age, he could have done many things with his time and money. He chose to enter the realm of American journalism. That says something profound about Sidney's priorities.

Barnett is a senior partner at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C.