I was intrigued by Sidney’s ideas and, like so many who encountered him, soon enough impressed at his charm and astonishing vigor. He strode quickly into a room, tanned and fit, offered a firm mogul handshake like a man decades younger. With a near-photographic memory, he dazzled dinner parties and meetings of editors by reciting long passages from Shakespeare, Tennyson and long-forgotten essayists, all of which had some genuine wisdom to impart. He saved Newsweek, hired Tina Brown as editor and told me just last week that the magazine was on track to break even. When he died April 12 after a brief battle with leukemia, it came as a shock. He was 92 and expected to live past 100. We all believed him.
I met him recently for the first time. He regaled me with World War II stories – as freshly minted as if they had just happened. We were scheduled for a half-hour and I didn’t leave for nearly two. I have never met a 92 year-old who acted like 32. And this you can surely say of him: he was alive when he died.