George Ames Plimpton (1927-2003) was an American journalist, writer, editor, and actor. In 1953, Plimpton joined the literary journal “The Paris Review”, becoming its first Editor-in-Chief. Outside the literary world, Plimpton was famous for competing in professional sporting events and then recording the experience from the point of view of an amateur. In 1960, he pitched against the National League. His experience was captured in the book “Out of My League”. Plimpton sparred for three rounds with boxing greats Archie Moore and Sugar Ray Robinson, while on assignment for “Sports Illustrated”. In 1963, Plimpton attended pre-season training with the Detroit Lions as a backup quarterback. These events were recalled in his best-known book “Paper Lion”.
Among other challenges for “Sports Illustrated”, he attempted to play top-level bridge and spent some time as a high-wire circus performer. Some of these events, such as another attempt at professional football, and an attempt at stand-up comedy, were presented on the ABC television network as a series of specials. Plimpton also appeared in a number of feature films, as an extra and in cameo appearances. He was also notable for his appearance in television commercials during the early 1980s.
Before his death, George Plimpton wrote the libretto to a new family opera-musical entitled “Animal Tales”, in collaboration with Grethe Barrett Holby.