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Queens-born Art Buchwald dies

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Born in Mount Vernon, Buchwald was raised from an early age in Hollis by his father following stints in foster care, where he was placed after his father fell on hard times during the Depression. His mother spent her life in a psychiatric facility after having delusions following his birth.He attended Forest Hills High School but dropped out to join the Marines during World War II. During his duty, Buchwald was the editor of his unit's newsletter.After his service, Buchwald attended the University of Southern California under the G.I. Bill, where he was managing editor of the school's humor magazine. But he moved to France when the school found out he never graduated from high school.Buchwald's first column, about French entertainment and restaurants called "Paris After Dark," appeared in the European edition of The New York Herald Tribune. Buchwald would later go on to write for The Washington Post, with that column carried in some 500 newspapers during its heyday.His writings focused on high-society types and powerful politicians ranging from a conversation with actor Gary Cooper to a fake news conference held by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In the Eisenhower column, Buchwald poked fun at the press for not asking the president hard questions during a NATO meeting in Paris. Buchwald said the press wanted to know when Eisenhower started eating his grapefruit in the morning.Buchwald's columns also took him around the world, where he went to Turkey on a quest to find a Turkish bath. He wrote that he was amazed that the locals told them there was no such thing.He spent the last year of his life in hospice care, refusing dialysis for his kidneys. Surprisingly, Buchwald's kidneys worked on their own for a time while in the hospice even after doctors told him he had weeks to live in February 2006. He left the hospice and stayed at his son Joseph's home, where he died Jan 19. Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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