An Irreplaceable Presence and Voice

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Monday, April 05, 2004

An Irreplaceable Presence and Voice

Allistair Cooke, who died last week in New York at age 95, was a gentleman of the old school. The very old school. He distinguished himself as the host of “Masterpiece Theatre.” In the 50’s, he hosted a show called “Omnibus.”

He was always elegant, debonair and articulate. His writing was of the highest caliber. He’d never make it in television today, where shouting and bad manners get you a show and lots of money.

Cooke explained America to his British friends and the British he explained to his American friends. He had friends, British and American, and lots of them.

In everything he was a gentleman, a character quality that seems to have escaped so many in this generation. 

Here is what the Washington post said about him and his famous “letter from America” radio stint: “…he often picked up on things that you yourself might have missed. He did so with a rationality and charm that somehow made us feel better about who we were and the knots we tie ourselves in.”

Television, radio and culture will miss his presence and voice.

I’m Cal Thomas in Washington.