He was going to be a playwright. He was repped by the William Morris Agency. He drove out to California to make a movie, and when that didn’t pan out, he drove South during the civil rights marches. He came back to New York to write some more. He summered in the Hamptons. And then he met Matthew Margolis. The rest is pet writing history.
An astounding 34 books later, including the Cornell Book of Cats and the U.C. Davis Book of Dogs and 38 columns in our own www.goodnewsforpets.com , his keyboard is now silenced. Mordecai Siegal left this life on earth April 1, 2010. But what a life he lived.
Although he was from Philadelphia, he was a consummate New Yorker and lived in the Village. He knew the ins and outs of theater, publishing, journalism, of just living there. He loved living in New York, he loved being “in the biz.” He and his wife raised three wonderful children there — who he often praised and spoke about in our conversations of raising my own children and working. When I would miss New York from afar, it was time to hear his latest tales.
He helped me launch www.goodnewsforpets.com while president of the Dog Writer’s Association of America. Boy, was he smart. He had the gift of the well-turned phrase, be it in conversation or the written word. His talents showed in “The View from Mordecai Siegal” — the 38 personal columns he wrote for www.goodnewsforpets.com. As soon as he would turn them in, he wanted to know what I thought. Did I like the headline, was it snappy enough? We would sometimes debate the placement of a comma, was a reference correct? As if I knew better! After a few more tweaks, he was satisfied.
He was multi-faceted, and as with many a New Yorker, he didn’t know the term “stand down” when he felt strongly about an issue. His life was a complicated dichotomy. He introduced me to many fine writers and publicist friends. He helped many along in their writing careers. When I told him about a particular piece of good business news he would say, now THAT’s really something.
He was REALLY SOMETHING. He was extraordinary and he will be missed. Farewell, my friend.