Clifton P. “Kip” Fadiman was an American intellectual, author, radio and television personality.
Fadiman grew up in Brooklyn and was a nephew of the child prodigy William James Sidis. A graduate of Columbia University, he worked for Simon & Schuster for ten years, ending as its chief editor. He spent another ten years in charge of The New Yorker’s book review section and in 1944 became a judge for the Book of the Month Club. In the 1970s, Fadiman was also senior editor of Cricket Magazine, where he wrote Cricket’s Bookshelf, a book review column for children.
His witticisms and sayings were frequently printed in newspapers and magazines. “When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before, you see more in you than there was before”, was one of the better known. Of Stendhal, Fadiman wrote, “He has no grace, little charm, less humor. is not really a good storyteller.”
Fadiman was already well known from radio where, from May 1938 until June 1948, he hosted its most popular quiz show, Information Please!. A trio of pundits — Clifton Fadiman, Franklin P. Adams, and John Kieran — conducted each session with erudite charm and good-natured wordplay. Information Please! was briefly revived for CBS-TV in 1952 as a 13-week summer replacement for the musical variety program The Fred Waring Show. During that June-September period, devoted fans of the departed radio program could finally not only hear, but also see Fadiman, Adams, and Kieran in action. With the advent of TV, Fadiman gained in popularity, quickly establishing himself as an all-purpose, highly knowledgeable guest and host. At ease in front of the TV camera and experienced from his years in radio, he frequently appeared on talk shows and hosted a number of upscale quiz programs.