Author Mordecai Richler dies at 70


MONTREAL, July 3 (JTA) — Mordecai Richler, a Canadian Jewish literary giant, died of cancer Monday. He was 70.

Richler was known for his stories about Jewish life in his native Montreal. “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” and “Joshua Then and Now” are among his most famous works.

“The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” was made into a movie starring Richard Dreyfuss.

Although he was known as a novelist, the cigar smoking, hard-drinking writer possessed literary versatility.

Richler was a syndicated columnist who enjoyed writing about what he viewed as the racism of Quebec’s separatists. “Oh Canada! Oh Quebec: Requiem for a Divided Country,” which he wrote in 1992, earned him many enemies in Quebec.

He was also the author of two popular children’s books, “Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang” and “Jacob Two-Two and the Dinosaur.”

Richler’s latest book, about a variant of the game of pool, was called “On Snooker.”

Prime Minister Jean Chretien said Richler was the quintessential Canadian man of words.

“He was quite simply one of the most brilliant, original and celebrated artists in Canadian history whose works will continue to stand the test of time for generations to come,” Chretien said.

Born in 1931, Richler moved to England and lived there from 1954 to 1972.

During his career, he was the recipient of numerous awards and citations, including Canada’s highest civilian honor, the Order of Canada.

He also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and twice won Canada’s’s most prestigious literary honor, the Governor-General’s Award for Fiction.

Recommended from JTA