JOHN HEILPERN
1942 - 2021
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HEILPERN--John David, died of lung cancer in New York City January 7, 2021. Born in Manchester, England on April 3rd, 1942 to Maurice Samuel Heilpern and Rachel Berkovitch Heilpern, John was a proud Mancunian (Manchester City, in particular), read Law at Oxford and was trained by Fleet Street in London in the 1960's and 70's. As a young star reporter for The London Observer in 1966, under the mentorship of David Astor, John made his mark interviewing all the greats of stage, screen, arts and letters, including to name but a few, John Gielgud, Graham Greene, Noel Coward, Helen Mirren, Vanessa Redgrave and The Who. He also worked as assistant director for Peter Hall at The National Theatre in London in 1976. John continued this journalistic tradition when he moved to New York in the 1980's where he filed a weekly column for The Times of London under Harry Evans; a weekly theater column at the New York Observer under editor Peter Kaplan; and the "Out to Lunch" column at Vanity Fair under Graydon Carter. As an author, he documented theater director Peter Brook's legendary trek through Africa in "Conference of the Birds," and wrote the authorized biography of British playwright John Osborne ("John Osborne: The Many Lives of an Angry Young Man"). He also published a collection of essays and collected pieces in "How Good is David Mamet, Anyway?" He is survived by his wife Sydney Houghton Weinberg; daughter Dr. Rachel Eliza Heilpern of California (Christopher Crook) and granddaughter Keira Mae Crook of California; and brother Dr. Jeffrey Heilpern of California. For fifty years as an author, critic and journalist, John's incisive intelligence and sharp wit were laced with a healthy dose of cynicism and profound warmth. To be in his company was to laugh and to be touched by a vibrant, scintillating mind. With no John in the day, there is no day to look upon.


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Published in New York Times on Jan. 10, 2021.
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4 entries
January 15, 2021
Prayers and fond memories are what you have to remember your dearly departed. May the love of family and friends comfort you during these difficult days. Please accept my most heartfelt condolences.
Simone Taylor
January 11, 2021
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Katie Murtha
January 11, 2021
I was just out of college and fairly fresh from the Midwest in 1985 when John hired me to be his assistant, just after he arrived at Vanity Fair, then at 350 Madison. My first job, and boss! I hadn't yet had much experience with dry English wit. What a master class I had. I certainly owe him my start in journalism, and so many life lessons. Chief among them: how to behave always with honor and kindness, while still being wonderfully sardonic.
It was an honor, and a delight, for me that we stayed friends all these years, and that, as a fantastic bonus, I got to know you, Sydney. I send you all my sympathy. You guys were magic together.
James Reginato
Friend
January 10, 2021
JDT ~ There are no words to express the sadness in my heart on your passing.
There are however PLENTY to describe and remember you by:
Brilliant, ferocious, hilarious, astute, warm, crotchety, generous, Hip-(but that was all thanks to Syd), humble, enchanting, rational, courageous, frank, witty, loyal, diligent, passionate are just a few that immediately come to mind. Dear and Friend are the two I will remember and cherish most.
I hope you reached your final destination with a scotch in hand and peace in your heart.
Give Mikey a big hug for me and make sure to order the extra dozen oysters and the steak frites with extra frites, because I will be doing the same for you down here.

Beautiful Sydney, Rachael and Kiera; the love he had for you was fierce and always his proudest achievement.
May that love ease your grief and fill your hearts.
With much much love and sympathy,
xoxoxo
Pamelita aka Gidget
"You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can't forget. Those are your friends." - Unknown
Pam Stone
Friend
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