Gerald Stern, Poet of Wistfulness, Anger and Humor, Dies at 97
Gerald Stern, who was often called the “last Irishman to be a major comic writer,” died on Nov. 27, the New York Times observed in a obituary. Born in New York City in 1915, he worked in television, publishing and radio before making his way to London in the early 1980s when he was hired to write for a variety of British publications, including the satirical magazine Private Eye. He wrote several one-act plays and appeared in the BBC television comedy sketch show Comedy Wartime with a sketch team he developed, which he created in 1973.
Stern was also a poet in the style of William Blake — at times more florid and at times poetic. One of his best-known poems is titled “Love and Death” and in it, he wrote of “the last and most beautiful things in the end, love and death.”
“The last and most beautiful things in the end.”
And it wasn’t just the end of his writing career — it was the end of Stern’s life.
He was found dead at the family home in New York City — a fitting place, for one would think.
Stern was born in Manhattan on Feb. 7, 1915. The family moved around a lot as the story goes, visiting relatives in New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C., to name a few. But they ultimately settled on the Upper West Side, not far from the then-newly opened Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. This is the story the Times chose to tell, without any mention of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel or any other Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
A native of Tarrytown and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Stern went on to serve as a radio operator in the Second World War.
He made his way into television in the 1960