The memorial gathering for Rudy yesterday was, by turns, enlightening, funny, and deeply touching. We gained a new appreciation for Rudy by meeting his family, so clearly touched by his unparalleled graciousness. We met his eloquent and witty sons and their beautiful wives; his devoted sister; his handsome and charming grandsons; and his stunning granddaughter Sophia.
No one who spoke was able to avoid twinges of emotion. Rudy’s impact on us all was that profound. Carolyn Giatras’ remembrance about doing a report on shoplifting shook loose a memory of just how persuasive Rudy could be and was. Rudy could get anyone to do anything. As I listened to Bill Diehl read Edward Brown’s testimonial, I was reminded of my days writing Ed’s 6:00 newscast, how Ed wanted the copy clean, and concise, allowing the news to make the impact and not drawing attention to the writing itself. It was a challenge for me, because clever lead sentences were always my forte. Still, when New York University — whose teams were “the Violets” — canceled its basketball program because of financial problems, Rudy somehow managed to convince Ed to lead the story like this:
Budgets are red,
Violets are blue.
That’s all for basketball
At old NYU.
For years, I had been trying to get a mention in the “Leads I Liked” section of the news director’s weekly memo. That one did it, not in the least because of Ed’s impeccable reading of it or of Rudy’s persuasion in getting him to read it.
I told Rudy’s son Dan that his father had always reminded me of one of the heroic characters from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Style and class came so naturally to him, more naturally than to anyone else I ever worked with in broadcasting or journalism. Rudy was everywhere in yesterday’s gathering in the Gilded-Age surroundings of the Larchmont Yacht Club. My wife, who never knew either Rudy or my own work at WNEW, had tears in her eyes. I was privileged to be there. I was especially privileged to have known Rudy Ruderman. A.F.