Clifton Fadiman, 95, a writer, book editor and radio and television entertainer, died of pancreatic cancer June 20 at a son's home here.
He most recently served as general editor on several publications, including "World Poetry" and the fourth edition of one of his own works, "The Lifetime Reading Plan."
He penned more than 65 introductions to a wide range of editions including "War and Peace," "The Martian Chronicles" and "Six by Seuss."
He was awarded the National Book Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 1993.
In 1985, he was named editor for "A World Treasury of Children's Literature," Britannica Junior Encyclopaedia, the Young Children's Encyclopedia and other works, winning the Dorothy C. McKenzie Award for contribution to children's literature.
But for many who knew him, Mr. Fadiman probably will be best remembered for his mostly anonymous role as senior judge for the Book-of-the-Month Club. It's a relationship he fostered for more than half a century, starting in the early 1940s. Despite losing his sight, he continued to make selections, listening to audio versions well into his nineties.
Mr. Fadiman, a New York native, learned to read at age 4 and never forgot the experience.
"One's first book, kiss or home run is always the best," he once said.
He began his career in 1925 as a teacher at Ethical Culture High School.
Four years later, he switched professions, first becoming associate editor and then editor in chief at Simon & Schuster.
During that time, Mr. Fadiman wrote articles and became book editor for the New Yorker, a position he held from 1933 to 1943.
Fadiman also tried his hand at radio, serving as master of ceremonies for the top-10 hit "Information Please," which ran for a decade starting in 1938. The show consisted of a panel of experts who were quizzed by the audience.
That was followed by the television program "This Is Show Business" and another stint on radio as the host of "Conversation" from 1954 to 1957.
He became a member of the selection committee for the Book-of-the-Month Club in 1944, eventually taking on the titles of senior judge, chief editorial adviser and finally chairman emeritus in 1997.
Mr. Fadiman lived with his wife, Annalee Whitmore Fadiman, on Captiva Island, off Florida's Gulf Coast. His said his two hobbies were wine and "the avoidance of exercise," and he had a simple lifelong work ethic.
"I can't retire," he said. "I wouldn't know what to do."
CAPTION: Clifton Fadiman poses with the 1993 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, given to him by the National Book Foundation.