Studs died yesterday on Halloween. He was 96 years old and a dear friend of mine. He was someone I had tremendous respect and admiration for.
I had first met Studs when I started working at the Chicago History Museum back in 1998. I was in charge of preserving and digitizing his audio recordings from over 50 years at WFMT in Chicago. They were 1/4" tape reels of one hour of interviews he did with regular folks and artist that he invited to his show. Of course he is mainly famous for his extraordinary books. He interviewed me for his 2004 book called Hope Dies Last. You can read the chapter on immigrants that I am in: here.
I worked closely with him. He used to take me out to lunch all the time and talk and laugh with me. When the USA invaded Iraq in 2003 I wanted to go back and make a documentary about my birth home Studs encouraged me and insisted I do it. So with some help from Studs I returned in 2004 and made the most important film of my life: Nice Bombs.
Studs even introduced the film along with Christie Hefner at the premier at the Music Box in Chicago in 2006.
I miss him. I have all this video footage of us hanging out and talking. He was a mentor and an inspiration to me. He taught me to listen and to care and be curious about our fellow humans in this short life we have. Goodbye Studs.