Attentive and Quick-Witted
Oliver Bennett, the younger and taller of the two Bennett sons, was a passionate listener. Joy Bennett, his mother, remembers him at gatherings: his head slightly lowered and his eyes intent on the person talking to him. In his quiet way, he drew attention. "You were always aware of Oli," a friend told Mrs. Bennett. "He was a very, very vital presence."
And, sometimes, a rather intimidating one. His withering one-liners, Mrs. Bennett said, "could take your breath away."
"You didn't cross Oli lightly. He let you know just what he thought. At 13, he'd say, 'I don't agree with you, Mom, but let's don't argue about it.' " His decisions, she said, were absolute.
He loved to draw, she said. The Bennett home in London, where he lived, is "littered" with his portraits. But he studied economics and psychology and became a financial writer for the Risk Water Group. On Sept. 11, he was at its conference at Windows on the World. He planned to quit journalism in a year, at 30, and open a restaurant and bar where conversation would flow easily. He saw himself as his own boss, the quiet center of the bar's hubbub, with an ever-changing parade of people to watch and listen to.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 28, 2001.