I remember getting a call some years ago from a television casting agent looking for a patrician type to play an editor who liked to go shooting rats in Central Park. I asked the agent if she had approached anyone else. As it happened, she had. Lewis Lapham said it was beneath him. George Plimpton agreed to do it, but he had a scheduling conflict. So she ended up with me. And the show went off the air within the year.
Vanity Fair editor and Spy founder Graydon Carter reviewed a biography of Paris Review editor George Plimpton in the New York Times Book Review this Sunday. ("I could have been a contender [to be a Great Male Author]," Plimpton once said, "If I hadn't done the Paris Review...) Carter revealed both his admiration for "George," as well as the fact that that when casting agents are scouting around for a "patrician type to play an editor ," Plimpton also had him beat—the secretly Canadian Carter was only the third choice for such a character: