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Sid Jacobson, Comic Book Writer With Range, Dies at 92



Sid Jacobson, a veteran comic book writer and editor whose work took him from the opulent, fanciful world of Richie Rich to the real-life terrorist attacks of 9/11, died on July 23 in San Francisco. He was 92.

His death, in hospice, was caused by a stroke following a case of the coronavirus, his family said in a statement.

From 1952 to 1982, when the company went out of business, Mr. Jacobson was a writer and editor at Harvey Comics in New York, which published the adventures of Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich and Wendy the Good Little Witch, as well as crime, horror and romance comics.

At Harvey he met the artist Ernie Colón, who became a frequent collaborator. “Wherever I worked as an editor, I always hired him,” Mr. Jacobson said in an interview after Mr. Colón’s death in 2019. “We were very close. We were like brothers.”

The two teamed up to tell a graphic-novel version of the 9/11 Commission’s report, which examined the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The report, the result of a government study headed by Thomas H. Kean, the former governor of New Jersey, became a best seller, if a dense one, in 2004. So did “9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation,” published in 2006. Mr. Jacobson called the effort “graphic journalism.”

The adaptation “packs a great deal of information within a vibrantly accessible format,” Julia Keller noted in a review in The Chicago Tribune.

“Particularly striking,” she added, “is the point at which the authors create a series of pages tracing the fate of all four planes, moment by moment, in a horizontal grid that makes the frenetic pace of the unfolding horror suddenly comprehensible.”

Mr. Jacobson and Mr. Colón would go on to create other graphic nonfiction books: one about America’s fight against terrorism, in 2008; biographies of Che Guevara (2009) and Anne Frank (2010); and, in 2017, “The Torture Report: A Graphic Adaptation,” which presented the findings of a Senate select committee’s investigation into the torture of terrorist suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Sidney Jacobson was born on Oct. 20, 1929, in Brooklyn, one of two children of Reuben and Beatrice (Edelman) Jacobson. His father worked in the garment district in Manhattan, and his mother was a homemaker.

He is survived by his son, Seth; his daughter, Kathy Battat; and three grandchildren.

Mr. Jacobson studied journalism at New York University and graduated in 1950. Two years later, his sister, Shirley, was dating someone who worked for Harvey Comics. He used the connection to get his foot in the door and eventually became the company’s editor in chief.

“It was called Harvey Comics, but he pretty much ran the company,” Angelo DeCesare, a writer and artist who got his start at the company in 1978, said of Mr. Jacobson. “Everything flowed through him.”

Mr. Jacobson was involved in the plots and writing of Richie Rich stories at the peak of the character’s popularity, when he appeared in several different books.

“They came out with Richie Riches like they were printing money,” said Jonny Harvey, a grandson of Leon Harvey, whose twin brother, Alfred, founded the company. (Leon their older brother, Robert, became executives there.) He added: “They had to come up with so many gags about Richie involving money. Sid would work with the writers and go back and forth. It was pretty collaborative.” (Jonny Harvey is the director of “Ghost Empire,” a forthcoming documentary about Harvey Comics.)

After Harvey Comics folded, Mr. Jacobson found work at Marvel, where he became the editor of Star Comics, an imprint for younger readers that began in 1984. Star produced a mix of licensed characters, like the Ewoks and Muppet Babies, and original series like Planet Terry, a space adventure about a boy trying to reunite with his parents, and Royal Roy, about a rich prince. But Harvey Comics felt that Royal Roy was too close in theme to Richie Rich and sued. (Royal Roy ended after six issues, and the lawsuit was dropped.)

In addition to writing and editing comics, Mr. Jacobson wrote novels and songs. “Streets of Gold,” a fictionalized version of his family’s Russian-Jewish immigration story, was published in 1985; “Another Time,” a novel set during the Depression, was published in 1989. He also wrote “Pete Reiser: The Rough-and-Tumble Career of the Perfect Ballplayer” (2004), a biography of an often-injured major league outfielder of the 1940s and ’50s noted for playing with reckless abandon.

Mr. Jacobson’s songwriting had a special place in his heart. “He was so proud of the hit that he had called ‘The End,’” Mr. DeCesare said. Mr. Jacobson once told him about being on a cruise ship when some passengers found out that he had written the lyrics to the song, which was released in 1958 as a single by Earl Grant.

“They all treated him like royalty,” Mr. DeCesare said.

Mr. Jacobson’s children said he had written about 100 published songs, mostly love songs but also some novelty tunes, including “Yen Yet” — which they fondly remembered hearing on the “Captain Kangaroo” TV show.

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Family Photo! JJ Watt Shares Snap With 1-Month-Old Son Koa and Wife Kealia



Their first Thanksgiving as a family of three! Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt shared a photo of his 1-month-old baby with Chicago Red Stars player Kealia Ohai Watt as they celebrated.

“More to be thankful for than ever,” the NFL star, 33, wrote via Instagram on Thursday, November 24. “Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!”

The photo showed JJ holding baby Koa, who was wrapped in a blue blanket that matched his dad’s Nike sneakers. The football player was comfortable in a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans while his wife, 30, donned black cargo pants with a white tank top. Both were smiling at their little one for the snap. Kealia replied with two red hearts.

The duo welcomed Koa one month ago. “Love and happiness have reached heights we never even knew existed. Koa James Watt 10.23.22,” the spouses, who married in February 2020, wrote in a joint Instagram post on October 25, alongside a sweet shot of the couple cradling their newborn in the hospital.

On November 11, Watt was asked how little Koa felt about a decision by referee Clete Blakeman mistakenly blew dead a play in which Watt was about to walk into the endzone. Watt joked that his son was livid.

“He was watching so he saw it. He was pissed. He was pretty pissed. It took us a while to get him to bed. We had to calm him down because he wanted to call Clete himself. And I told him, ‘Son, your day will come,’” he joked with reporters ahead of Week 11.

He also spoke about appearing on HBO’s Hard Knocks with Kealia and Koa, joking that their dogs were the real stars. “Any time that I can share the screen with my wife and my son and our dogs, I have to — my wife and I are unbelievably proud of our dogs. They knew the pressure was on and they stepped up to the plate in a way that I’ve never seen,” he quipped. “Our dogs don’t act like that on any walk we’ve ever been on and they were phenomenal. We need Hard Knocks cameras 24/7 when we go on walks because our dogs really crushed it. Tex and Finn — they rise to the occasion.”

JJ and Kealia announced in June that a human would be joining their fur babies, sharing that they “could not be more excited” to be expecting in the fall. They didn’t have a sex reveal but casually dropped that they were having a son in passing. It was so nonchalant that fans wondered if JJ made a mistake. One asked if he accidentally let the news slip, to which he replied, “We didn’t do a gender reveal, we just found out and then told people when they asked.”

The new dad always puts family first, and he’s instilling that in the next generation of the family. JJ has already been putting Koa on FaceTime with cousins Logan, 2, and Brayden, 23 months — who Derek shares with wife Gabriella Watt — he revealed in a birthday tribute to the Pittsburgh Steelers player earlier this month.

“All the football games in the yard when we were kids, the mini hockey battles in the basement, etc. Now we’re FaceTiming each other so our kids can see each other. (Still playing football though!) Crazy! Happy Birthday bro!!” JJ wrote via Instagram on November 7.

The Watt family has had a lot to celebrate in 2022. The athletes’ youngest brother, TJ Watt, tied the knot with his wife, Dani Rhodes, in July.

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Freddie Roman, Borscht Belt comic known for roasts, dead at 85



Beloved Borscht Belt comic and actor Freddie Roman, best known for his roasts as part of New York City’s Friars Club and later Comedy Central, died at the age of 85 on Saturday, his family said.

Roman suffered a heart attack in Boynton Beach, Florida, his daughter confirmed to Deadline.

The comic had spent most of his life in show business after he was given the opportunity to emcee at his uncle and grandfather’s Crystal Spring Hotel in the Catskills when he was just 15.

Roman, born Fred Kirschenbaum, and his old-timey jokes were a fixture at nightclub venues in cities like New York and Las Vegas.

He served as the dean, or president, of The Friar’s Club and took shots at celebrities like Jerry Stiller, Hugh Hefner, Drew Carey, Rob Reiner and Chevy Chase on Comedy Central’s Roasts.

Roman was best known for his roasts at the Friar’s Club.
Ron Galella Collection via Getty
Freddie Roman and actress Debbie Reynolds at the Friar's Club in 2009.
Freddie Roman and actress Debbie Reynolds at the Friar’s Club in 2009.

He appeared in numerous films, including the award-winning documentary “Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort” (2012), “Bittersweet Place” (2005), “Christ in the City” (2005), “Finding North” (1998) and “Sweet Lorraine” (1987), according to IMDB.

He more recently co-starred in Amazon’s hit comedy series “Red Oaks,” playing a curmudgeon member of a Jewish country club in New Jersey. He also made guest appearances on shows “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “The Tonight Show.”

Roman is survived by his wife, Ethel, and daughter, Judi Levin, Deadline reported.

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