Russell Baker Biography, Age, Family, Wife, Growing Up, Books, Death

Russell Baker Biography

Russell Baker (Russell Wayne Baker) was an American writer best known for his satirical commentary and self-critical prose. He was also known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography Growing Up (1982). He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1947.

From 1962 to 1998, Baker was a columnist for The New York Times. From 1992 to 2004, he hosted the PBS show Masterpiece Theatre.

After covering the United States Department of State and the White House, United States Congress for The New York Times for eight years, Baker wrote the nationally syndicated Observer column for the newspaper from 1962 to 1998, initially oriented toward politics. The column began to encompass other subjects after he relocated to New York City in 1974.

During his career, Baker was a regular contributor to national periodicals such as The New York Times Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Sports Illustrated, and McCalls. In 1993, Baker was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Russell Baker Age

Russell Baker was born on August 14, 1925 in Morrisonville, Virginia, United States. He died on January 21, 2019 at the age of 93.

Russell Baker Family

He was the son of Benny Baker (father) and Lucy Elizabeth Baker (mother). Baker had two sisters Audrey Baker and Doris Baker. His father died in 1930 of untreated diabetes, even though insulin had been discovered nearly a decade earlier.

Russell Baker Wife

He was married to Mimi Baker who died in September, 2015, at 88. His wife Miriam Emily Nash was devoted to the Balch genealogy library and did extensive scholarly studies of such big Loudoun County families as the Fryes, Coopers, Bakers, and others rooted in the long Germanic culture of the county’s northern area,” Russell Baker noted in an email.

Russell Baker Photo
Russell Baker Photo

He had three children: a daughter Kasia Baker of Nantucket, Massachusetts, two sons Allen Baker of New York and Michael Baker of Morrisonville.

Russell Baker Death – Is Russell Baker Still Alive? | Russell Baker Death Cause

Russell Baker died on 21 January 2019 at his home in Leesburg, Va, at the age of 93. The cause of his death was as a result of complications from a fall, said his son, Allen Baker.

Growing Up Russell Baker Audiobook

To listen to Growing Up audiobook by Russell Baker click the following link.

Russell Baker Books

  1. The Good Times
  2. Russell Baker’s Book of American Humor
  3. Norton Book of Light Verse
  4. Poor Russell’s Almanac
  5. There’s a country in my cellar
  6. So This is Depravity
  7. Looking back
  8. The upside-down man
  9. Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
  10. The Rescue of Miss Yaskell and Other Pipe Dreams
  11. Every Other Weekend: My Fight for Access
  12. All Things Considered
  13. Lounge-Ware : Mid-Century Modern Furniture Design
  14. A Fear of Height
  15. Making Your Way to an Access in Mathematics
  16. Growing Up

Growing Up Russell Baker – Russell Baker Memoir

Growing Up is a 1982 memoir by author and journalist Russell Baker. An autobiography chronicling Baker’s youth in Virginia and his mother’s strength of character during the Great Depression, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography in 1983.

Originally published: 1982
Author: Russell Baker
Publisher: Thomas Congdon
Genre: Memoir
Country: United States of America
Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography

Russell Baker Quotes

  1. Life is always walking up to us and saying, ‘Come on in, the living’s fine,’ and what do we do? Back off and take its picture.
  2. Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.
  3. The worst thing about being a tourist is having other tourists recognize you as a tourist.
  4. The goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately defeat him.
  5. Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.
  6. Live by publicity, you’ll probably die by publicity.
  7. Inanimate objects can be classified scientifically into three major categories; those that don’t work, those that break down and those that get lost.
  8. Don’t try to make children grow up to be like you, or they may do it.
  9. Americans like fat books and thin women.
  10. Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.

Growing Up Russell Baker Summary – Growing Up Russell Baker Cliff Notes

Baker’s story begins in rural Virginia, where he is born to Benny, a diabetic alcoholic, and Ruth, a teacher. Ruth both resents male privilege and believes women serve a civilizing force in society, guiding brutish men to “make something of themselves.” She repeats this phrase throughout the book and applies it rigorously to Baker. His idyllic early childhood contrasts with the hard life of the adults around him, who have yet to benefit from the technological advancements that will change their world.

After his father’s death in 1931, Baker’s family—Ruth, Baker, and his younger sister Doris—moves to Newark, New Jersey to live with his mother’s brother, Allen, and his wife, Pat. The Depression is deepening, and Ruth struggles to find a job. Baker is preoccupied with adapting to the restrictions and dangers of city life. His journalism career begins when he is eight, when he begins selling the Saturday Evening Post. His timidity and lack of aggressiveness limit his sales, and his mother worries about finding him an appropriate career. When he brings home an “A” on a written composition, she suggests he become a writer, and the idea enchants him.

After six years in New Jersey, Baker, Ruth, and Doris move to Baltimore. Ruth’s brother Hal engineers the move with promises of business opportunities that never materialize. Baker again struggles to adapt, while Ruth struggles to earn a living. Baker meets Harold, the husband of Baker’s aunt. Harold tells outlandish stories and is called a liar. Baker gradually realizes storytelling allows Harold to brighten an otherwise dreary life. From Harold, Baker learns to value the power of storytelling.

Ruth’s aspirations for Baker to have a better life than his predecessors lead her to enroll him at a competitive high school. There, Baker meets boys with white collar backgrounds. While his classmates debate intellectual and economic theories, members of Baker’s blue-collar community worry about surviving day-to-day. As Baker’s education exceeds his mother’s, he develops intellectual arrogance, yet he straddles two economic classes, never fitting entirely into either. He is too educated for the blue-collar world and too behind on politics and world events to be accepted into the Honor Society at school. He earns a scholarship to Johns Hopkins but struggles to keep up academically.

In 1943, Baker turns eighteen and joins the Navy Air Corps, having harbored romantic fantasies of becoming a pilot since first hearing of famed pilot Charles Lindbergh. He spends eighteen months in training and never sees battleduring World War II. After the war, Baker returns to Baltimore where he meets Mimi, the woman he will marry. They date for four years, with Baker unable to commit to marriage. He is hampered by idealized fantasies of the “good woman” he internalized from his mother. Mimi is uneducated but a modern woman who supports herself and loses patience with Baker’s indecision. After dating a pedigreed woman of debauched character, Baker appreciates Mimi’s dignity, and the two marry.

Baker’s final chapter returns to the nursing home. He and Mimi are on a trip visiting their son, his wife, and their baby granddaughter. In the book’s final line, Ruth says she has never heard of Russell and…