May the Great David Rakoff Rest in Peace

Editor-in-chief Jim Nelson recalls his friend—the gifted writer, witty essayist, and member of the GQ family:

I just learned that a friend and a longtime contributor to the magazine, the writer David Rakoff, died yesterday, at the cruel age of 47.

Some of you may be familiar with his wickedly smart and powerfully funny writing, but if you don’t know it, I urge you to go back and read one of the most original voices of our time.

Funnily enough, David and I met through a blind date, years ago, set up through our mutual friend, Ilena Silverman, a former GQ editor who just had this gut feeling we would hit it off. She was right. (Thank you, Ilena.)

This must have been 1993.We went to a long-gone restaurant on Avenue A, Zitunya, near my apartment on Tompkins Square Park. I hate blind dates, and so did he, but we figured what the hell. On the phone I said, “Um, how will I know you?” He said, “I’ll be the one who looks like Richard Benjamin.” Ha! (People Who Have Never Heard That Name: That’s the oh-so-70s’ actor from movies like “Portnoy’s Complaint” and “Westworld.”) And you know what: He kinda did! Here was a man with an unaffected sense of himself, unafraid to be exactly who he was. We got on famously, so famously that after the date, we saw the immediate wisdom of becoming friends.