Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

LARGER THAN LIFE: DEPARTED
SOULS WHO SPEAK TO US STILL

I escaped from the microphone for a few days last week to stroll along a deserted winter beach with a pretty girl who lost her father last month.

Bernard F. Curry Jr.—Nancy called him “Papa”—was an extraordinary man, personally, professionally, and physically.

At six feet four inches, he was larger than life.

The great Mario Cuomo sized up the man and nicknamed him “Paul Bunyan.” Papa, who was always a little more politically “conservative” than his loved ones, returned the favor by calling Mr. Cuomo “Robin Hood”!

As a broadcaster, I encounter many other vivid souls who left us too soon. Some were colleagues at WNEW, WVIP, WVOX, and WRTN. Others I observed from a distance for brief, fleeting moments.

These luminous individuals painted color into our drab existence and belonged to a unique fraternity who fought convention as they pursued their own salvation. Each was sui generis, so unique they could be defined only in their own terms. Although they have passed on to a better world, their dazzling turn on this planet lingers in my mind.

Some left us many years ago. My own father passed away in 1974. But they have not irrevocably departed. They instruct and inspire us still from the archives of our minds, often without notoriety or fame.

Although I have listed them below in alphabetical order, this unique roster of disparate, endearing characters is based on my own fading memory without assistance from Lexis-Nexis, Google, or other Internet search engines.

Dying is a solo act. You have to do it all by yourself. But these marvelous characters belong to a rich breed who played and danced to a bold, beguiling music.

And their light still shines:

Val Adams, Spiro Agnew, John Aiello, Ken Ake, Andy Albanese, Ethel Albertson, J. Lester Albertson, Henry Alexander, Mel Allen,

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