Last year, Rakoff won a well-deserved James Thurber Prize for American Humor. In 1987 Rakoff was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but overcame it after eighteen months of treatment. In 2010, he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor, was forced to start chemotherapy again, and he lost the battle with cancer last night. Rakoff, a Canadian by birth who lived in NYC, learned he had a tumor while writing Half Empty, his book in defense of pessimism and melancholy.
He was on our show in 2010 when Half Empty was released. We spoke with him about pessimism, elitism, and public radio.
Music - "What'll I Do" - Nat King Cole