A French View of Art Buchwald

Monday, January 22, 2007

I am deeply saddened by the death of Art Buchwald [front page, Jan. 19]. Through his columns and books, he was a passionate francophile and a talented bridge between France and the United States. For decades, he shared his affection for my country with millions of readers and, during his 14 amazing years in Paris, he did the same with countless prestigious American visitors, who became his friends.

I had the privilege of knowing him since his 80th birthday, for which a party was organized at the French Embassy. I visited him when he was in a hospice in Washington and granted him, on behalf of President Jacques Chirac, the medal of Commander of Arts and Letters, something he was sincerely proud of and rightly called "the Legion of Honor for artists." In December, we had one more party at my residence for the release of his book "Too Soon to Say Goodbye."

Indeed, it was too soon to say goodbye to Art Buchwald for all of us who had the chance to learn from him amazing lessons about life, death and how to confront it with a smile. I shall sorely miss him.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE

Ambassador of France

to the United States

Washington


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