Jimmy Breslin, Famed New York Columnist and Novelist, Dies

Longtime columnist Jimmy Breslin, who spent decades pounding out missives for the benefit of downtrodden and overlooked New Yorkers and at the expense of the city's powerful institutions, has died after half a century of writing.

For almost half a century, Breslin was to NY what Mike Royko was to Chicago - a columnist who set the agenda for his city and whose words made everybody from the mayor to the gas meter readers sit up and take notice.

"The sidewalks of NY have lost a great one, Jimmy Breslin".

Breslin's persona was that of a gruff, cigar-smoking, Irish-American guy from Queens, New York, who could belt back booze with the best of them, and who was not afraid to enrage his own readers with sometimes acidic observations.

He was a reporter who also wrote novels, plays and was a screenwriter.

To this day, that Breslin column is required reading in journalism classes for enterprise reporting.

In 1977, the infamous so-called Son of Sam killer, David Berkowitz, wrote to Breslin, launching a regular correspondence and a series of columns that offered insights to a terrified city.

He published over 20 books on subjects from NY politics to the child-sex scandal that rocked the Catholic Church.

Breslin also knew how to take a punch.

Breslin was married twice. But two of the daughters, Rosemary and Kelly, did not outlive their dad.

He's survived by his wife, Ronnie Eldridge.

  • Leroy Wright