Brendan Gill

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Brendan Gill (October 4, 1914 – December 27, 1997) wrote for The New Yorker for more than 60 years. He also contributed film criticism for Film Comment and wrote a popular book about his time at the New Yorker magazine.


Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Gill attended the Kingswood-Oxford School before graduating in 1936 from Yale University, where he was a member of Skull and Bones.[1]:127 He was a long-time resident of Bronxville, New York, and Norfolk, Connecticut.

In 1936 The New Yorker editor St. Clair McKelway hired Gill as a writer.[2] One of the publication's few writers to serve under its first four editors, he wrote more than 1,200 pieces for the magazine. These included Profiles, Talk of the Town features, and scores of reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater productions.[3] As The New Yorker's main architecture critic from 1987 to 1996, he wrote the long-running "Skyline" column before Paul Goldberger took his place.

A champion of architectural preservation and other visual arts, Gill joined Jacqueline Kennedy's coalition to preserve and restore New York's Grand Central Terminal. He also chaired the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and authored 15 books, including Here at The New Yorker and the iconoclastic Frank Lloyd Wright biography Many Masks.

Gill was a good friend of actor Sir Rex Harrison and was among the speakers who memorialized the legendary star of the musical My Fair Lady at his memorial service in New York City in 1990.


Brendan Gill died of natural causes in 1997, at the age of 83. In a New Yorker "Postscript" following Gill's death, John Updike described him as “avidly alert to the power of art in general.”[3]


Gill's son, Michael Gates Gill, is the author of How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else.[4] His youngest son, Charles Gill, is the author of the novel The Boozer Challenge.

Offices held



  • The Day the Money Stopped (1957)
  • The Trouble of One House (1951)
  • Fair Land to Build in: The Architecture of the Empire State (1984)
  • The Dream Come True: Great Houses of Los Angeles (1980)
  • Lindbergh Alone - May 21, 1927 (1980)
  • Summer Places (with Dudley Whitney Hill) (1978)
  • Ways of Loving (short stories) (1974).
  • Tallulah (Tallulah Bankhead biography) (1972)
  • Cole Porter (Cole Porter biography) (1972)
  • New York Life: Of Friends and Others
  • The introduction to Portable Dorothy Parker (Dorothy Parker collection of her stories & columns) (1972)
  • Late Bloomers
  • Here at The New Yorker (1975)
  • Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright (1987)


  • Gill, Brendan (15 January 1949). "The Talk of the Town: Runaway". The New Yorker. 24 (47): 22–23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> I Can Hear it Now - album of speeches and news broadcasts, 1932-45 (with Spencer Klaw).
  • Gill, Brendan (4 February 1950). "The Talk of the Town: The Wildest People". The New Yorker. 25 (50): 21–22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Transit Radio, Inc.
  • Gill, Brendan (4 February 1950). "The Talk of the Town: Improvisation". The New Yorker. 25 (50): 25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Hiding telephone lines in the ivy at Princeton (with M. Galt).
  • Gill, Brendan (14 January 1985). "The Theatre: The Ignominy of Boyhood". The New Yorker. 60 (48): 108–110.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Reviews Bill C. Davis' "Dancing in the End Zone", James Duff's "Home Front" and Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I".
  • Gill, Brendan (28 January 1985). "The Talk of the Town: Notes and Comment". The New Yorker. 60 (50): 19–20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> West 44th Street development.


  1. Robbins, Alexandra (2002). Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-72091-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Weingarten, Marc (14 February 2010). "On the crime beat with St. Clair McKelway". Los Angeles Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Eighty-Five from the Archive: Brendan Gill," The New Yorker, March 22, 2010
  4. "Fired exec: 'Starbucks saved my life' -". CNN. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links